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Ukraine Talks, ep. 3. Trump’s VP shortlist: bad news for Ukraine?

The third episode of Ukraine Talks focuses on the race for the next NATO chief, Donald Trump’s vice presidential picks, and China’s stance on Ukraine-Russia war.
Ukraine Talks, ep. 3. Trump’s VP shortlist: bad news for Ukraine?

In the third episode of Ukraine Talks, a weekly podcast by Euromaidan Press, two Kyiv-based Ukrainian journalists, Ivan Verstyuk and Serge Havrylets, discussed the possible impact of Donald Trump’s vice presidential picks on US-Ukraine relations, the race for the next NATO chief, China’s role in the Russian invasion of Ukraine, and latest polls that show a stark contrast between Europe’s and Ukraine’s views on the Russo-Ukrainian war.

Recent polls revealed that most Europeans are doubtful about Ukraine’s ability to win the war against Russia, while most Ukrainians are hopeful.

An average of just 10% of Europeans across 12 countries believe Ukraine will win in its war against Russia’s invasion, while twice as many, 20%, expect Russia to prevail, according to a European Council on Foreign Relations (ECFR) poll.

The ECFR poll surveyed over 16,000 people in 12 countries: Austria, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Italy, the Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Spain and Sweden.

According to the findings: “Everywhere except Poland and Portugal, more people expect a Russian victory than a Ukrainian one.” Some 37% agree the war will end in a negotiated settlement rather than a clear military win.

At the same time, most Ukrainians believe that Ukraine will repel the Russian invasion and win the war against Russia, according to a poll conducted by the Razumkov Center, a Ukrainian non-governmental polling organization and public policy think tank.

The sociological survey was conducted from 19 January to 25 January 2024. According to the poll, 84,8% of Ukrainians believe that Ukraine will win the war but are divided in their views on what is considered a victory over Russia.

The Republican presidential candidate, Donald Trump, has revealed his list of potential running mates, who have all expressed negative or doubtful views on US aid to Ukraine and positive or appeasing views on Russia and its president.

The list of vice presidential candidates includes three of Trump’s former rivals in the Republican primaries: Florida Governor (Republican) Ron DeSantis, Senator of South Carolina (Republican) Tim Scott, and entrepreneur Vivek Ramaswamy.

Other potential candidates include South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem, US House member Byron Donalds, and former House member Tulsi Gabbard, who left the Democratic Party in 2022.

The current NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg will soon be stepping down after nearly a decade of service. His term will be officially up on 1 October 2024. There are several candidates for this job right now.

Currently, Estonian Prime Minister Kaja Kallas, Latvian Foreign Minister Krisjanis Karins, and outgoing Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte all openly want the job. Other candidates include the president of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, the Prime Minister of Denmark, Mette Frederiksen, and the ex-UK Defense Minister Ben Wallace.

China attempts to balance its interests with both Russia and Ukraine amid the ongoing war. On 18 February, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi told his Ukrainian counterpart Dmytro Kuleba during a meeting in Munich that Beijing does not sell lethal weapons to parties of conflicts, which implied Russia. He also reiterated his support for “peace” and negotiations between Ukraine and Russia, according to China’s Foreign Ministry.

Back in early 2023, the Chinese Foreign Ministry published a “peace” proposal to resolve Russia’s war against Ukraine, comprising general phrases and calls for negotiations. Ukraine criticized the plan. In the spring of 2023, the Chinese envoy, a Special Representative for Eurasian Affairs, Li Hui, toured European capitals to promote China’s peace plan for Ukraine, calling for an immediate ceasefire, which would leave Russia in possession of the occupied territories of Ukraine.

To learn more, please join our podcast, where Ivan Verstyuk and Serge Havrylets discuss the above topics in detail.

Ivan Verstyuk is a journalist and analyst in Kyiv, Ukraine. Formerly an editor at the Kyiv Post and New Voice of Ukraine, he has 20 years of experience in media. Since the beginning of the Russian invasion, Ivan has been commenting on war developments for BBC and several Ukrainian publications. He authored a book about Ukraine and its fight – “Changes Outside My Windows” (in Ukrainian), published by Yakaboo in 2022.

Serge Havrylets is a Kyiv-based journalist with Euromaidan Press and a screenwriter. His pitch-winning script for the Ukrainian film “Brass Band” was set to become a movie in 2022, but the Russian invasion of Ukraine put the film on hold. Serge covers political life in Ukraine and abroad and the Russo-Ukrainian war.

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