The participation of President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelensky in the UN Climate Change Conference in Glasgow has become very productive – the head of state not only managed to speak at the summit, but also held many meetings with leaders of other states.
What Volodymyr Zelenskyi agreed on and why the work of the Normandy format is in question – in the program “View from Bankova” of the UA TV channel we are talking with the press secretary of the President of Ukraine Serhii Nikiforov.
Anna Nytchenko hosts the program.
– How integrated is Ukraine now in the process of combating global warming? What we can be proud of in this direction?
– Ukraine is fully integrated into the process of combating global warming. We supported the key initiatives that were voiced and raised at this Glasgow summit. Ukraine has pledged to reduce investment in the coal industry by 2030-2040 and reduce methane emissions by 30%. Methane is one of the key factors in creating the conditions for global warming. That is why Ukraine is keeping pace with all developed countries, some of which are even ahead of them in terms of initiatives to combat global warming.
– If we talk about internal environmental problems, such as air quality in Kryvyi Rih or Mariupol, floods, deforestation in the Carpathians – what does the state do to address such issues?
– Just last month, the president visited the industrial cities of Mariupol and Zaporizhzhia. The President heard firsthand that there is a practice when before the arrival of high-level guests factories – Zaporizhzhia, Mariupol – reduce emissions, conduct some manipulations to improve air quality for a short time, and then, when the delegation, guests go, burn in the old way.
There is also a global initiative called “Drinking Water of Ukraine”. It is aimed at ensuring that high-quality drinking water flows from taps in the vast majority of settlements in Ukraine. All this is under control, this is being monitored.
The Office of the President of Ukraine is currently changing the Minister of Ecology, looking for a person who will fight even more effectively for clean air, for clean water, for Ukraine’s natural resources. Therefore, this topic is not alien to the Ukrainian authorities – ecology, air quality, water. This is one of the priorities of the government.
– In his speech in Glasgow, Volodymyr Zelenskyy called on states to measure not only financial but also environmental growth. Not only the level of GDP or inflation, but first of all the level of purity of air and water. What example does Ukraine set in this direction?
– Yes, money can’t buy extra years of life, money often can’t buy health. And ecology and clean air make it possible to increase life expectancy, quality of life, so the president is absolutely right.
– The head of state also said that due to Russian aggression the planet received two environmental bombs in the center of Europe – the temporarily occupied Crimea and part of Donbas. Is Volodymyr Zelenskyy ready to take the issue of solving environmental problems, such as Donbas, to the level of the Normandy format?
– I do not have an unambiguous answer now. The Normandy format itself, its continuation – is in great question. There is no way to agree on the next summit in the Normandy format at the highest level, even the ministers have not yet met. That is, here is the political part, the political order of the Normandy format under the big question, not to mention the environment. There is currently no answer, although this is a very good topic for discussion at high levels in the Normandy format.
– On the sidelines of the summit, Volodymyr Zelenskyy met with US President Joe Biden and leaders of other states. How productive were such meetings?
– In fact, it was a meeting at an informal event, at a reception at Boris Johnson after the formal part of the conference in Glasgow. There was enough time to discuss security and eastern Ukraine.
Even though there was very little time, this meeting should be considered in a general context, because there was a meeting with Joe Biden, the next day there was a longer and more substantive meeting with Anthony Blinken. It should not be seen as separate short meetings, it is a long dialogue at different levels.
On Thursday (November 4, – ed.) Karen Donfried, Anthony Blinken’s assistant, came to the Office of the President to meet with the head of the Office of the President of Ukraine, Andriy Yermak. This is a dialogue that continues at completely different levels, between very good partners – Ukraine and the United States.
– During the last week, the American media wrote about the concentration of Russian troops near the borders of Ukraine. How real is the threat of escalation from the Russian Federation today?
– As far as I know, the Ministry of Defense of Ukraine calls such messages an element of either psychological or propaganda pressure. It does not confirm the concentration of troops above the normal level near the borders of Ukraine.
The President held a conference call, which was mainly devoted to the situation with the spread of coronavirus in Ukraine, but other issues were discussed, including security issues. The Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of Ukraine spoke. He did not say anything that should have alarmed.
The question remains, why the American media disseminates such information, whether it is true. But the Office of the President does not currently have any confirming information.
– Concluding the topic of the conference, I want to clarify the meeting of President Volodymyr Zelenskyy with the Emir of Qatar. The leaders discussed the possibilities and conditions of supplying Qatari liquefied natural gas to Ukraine. How interested is Ukraine in this and will it be able to get from a technical point of view?
– In fact, for Qatari liquefied gas to reach Ukraine, we need a terminal. As far as I understand, the possibility of such supplies is being discussed with the mediation of Turkey, so it is necessary to talk more specifically about the supply of liquefied gas not at a bilateral but at a tripartite meeting with the participation of Turkish representatives. Because as far as I understand, they have terminals. These are very technical issues, I am not strong in them, we need to talk to the representatives of Naftogaz.
But, really, there was a meeting with the Emir of Qatar, they talked about it and talked about helping Qatar in the evacuation of citizens of Ukraine and other countries from Afghanistan, in which, by the way, Ukraine has succeeded not without the help of Qatar representatives, they are our good partners.
– Besides, personnel changes in the government took place this week. According to the president’s quota, the Verkhovna Rada appointed Oleksiy Reznikov Minister of Defense. What tasks does he face in his new position?
– I think he said everything perfectly during the presentation in the Verkhovna Rada and the Ministry of Defense. He asked for a month’s break from communication with the press in order to get acquainted with the case, to conduct a full audit of the current situation in the Ministry of Defense. The task is to understand in the near future what and how it works. He is very experienced in the related field, he will do it all from scratch.
And then – providing the army. It seems to me that the President set such a task that the Ukrainian serviceman should be shod, dressed, that he should eat well, that he should have good material security, competitive salaries, Reznikov said this in the Verkhovna Rada when voting for his candidacy.
– In total, five ministers have changed. How does the Office of the President evaluate such a castling?
– The main thing is that it means that now there is no circular guarantee in power. There is no such thing that you came to power, and that’s all – you are already own. And no matter what you do, you will not be abandoned. This is a good indication that if a minister does not perform well enough, he will be replaced. This, in my opinion, is the main motive. You must show results to stay in this chair. This is an assessment from the Office of the President.
To remind, during a speech at the UN Conference on Climate Change, Volodymyr Zelenskyy said that by 2030 Ukraine plans to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 65%.