Ukraine-based expert team TRUMAN Agency has released their sixth issue of TRUMAN Index focused on foreign policy, and the first TRUMAN Report devoted to economic issues. In this newsletter, we provide the key points of both documents.
TRUMAN Index shows dynamics in Ukraine’s relations with the USA, the EU, Russia, China, and NATO. According to the research, the index of China-Ukraine relations is stable – 0,93. China is ready to invest $7 billion into infrastructure, innovative technologies, agricultural and energy projects in Ukraine. “To a certain extent, China is still perceived by Ukrainians as an exotic country, and our relations are combined with mutual cultural discovery and cultural exchange,” noted Tamara Tachynska, senior partner of TRUMAN Agency, at a presentation of the 6th edition of TRUMAN Index magazine at Ukraine Crisis Media Center.
This year, TRUMAN Index has a new section about Ukraine’s relations with NATO. At present, bilateral relations were assessed as positive, ranked at 0,86 points. There are, however, some factors which had a negative impact, namely the misunderstanding between Ukraine and Hungary about Ukraine’s new law on education. “During the reporting period, two Ukraine-NATO meetings on the level of ministries failed to take place. There were meetings on a lower level but no meetings on the level of ministries. In the short-term perspective, this may have further negative consequences: Ukraine probably will not be invited to participate in NATO summit in July 2018, unless it reaches compromise with Hungary regarding the law on education,” noted Kateryna Zarembo, Deputy Director of New Europe Center.
She added that Ukraine’s newly obtained status of ‘aspirant country’ is not literally an official recognition of the country’s will to join the Alliance. “In fact, it is quite a symbolic status which exists only on the website of the Alliance and in political discussions. This is not about a certain official status, defined by a bilateral agreement or another type of document, as it happens in the case of European integration or accession to the EU,” Ms. Zarembo explained.
According to the report, the quality of cooperation between Ukraine and the USA improves and have reached 1,5 points. The experts pointed out that Ukraine tries to get the US support through economic agreements rather than through successful reforms. “Over the last quarter, we noticed a new trend: various countries interact with the current [Donald Trump’s] Administration trying to sign economic agreements and thus to ‘buy’ attention, loyalty and support of American President. Ukraine chose this way as well. This is not bad, this is just one of the ways to draw attention not only of Administration’s officials, which are already friendly to Ukraine and understand that this country is important for the US interests, but also of actors with the business-focused approach. This is Donald Trump and several people from his environment,” noted Alyona Hetmanchuk, director of New Europe Center.
The index of Ukrainian-Russian relation is negative at -1,3 points. However, this is an improvement compared to the previous year. A slight improvement is caused by a number of factors, including Mr. Putin’s attempts to position himself as a peacekeeper, and the biggest prisoners exchange in the recent period. “Russia tried to soften sanctions imposed against it, where possible. In particular, Moscow hoped to return its influence in the PACE by restoring the mandate of the Russian delegation in this institution. In Ukraine, there were fears that Russia is likely to succeed with that. But in the end it seems that Ukrainian diplomats underestimated their own efforts and overestimated Russia-friendly moods among the delegations of other countries,” explained Serhiy Solodkyi, First Deputy Director of New Europe Center. “The West is, however, not ready to demonstrate decisively unanimous and tough stance in dialogue with Russia. And, unfortunately for Ukraine, this is an ambiguous signal for Kremlin,” he added.