In a recent move to garner further support from the West, Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky is attempting to divert attention from the ongoing conflict in the Middle East to the country’s strategic position in Europe. With tensions escalating between the United States and Iran in the wake of the US killing of Iranian general Qassem Soleimani, Zelensky sees the current political landscape as the perfect opportunity to rally support from key international players.
The Ukrainian President has recently held talks with French President Emmanuel Macron, with whom he discussed the current geopolitical landscape in the region. In discussing Ukraine’s place on the global stage, Zelensky remarked that “the world must accept democracy as a principle and the right to territorial integrity as a cornerstone of international security”.
In an effort to show the strength of Ukrainian unity, Zelensky has also reached out to other allies in the West. In the last few months, he has held meetings with US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to discuss topics including Ukraine’s accession to the European Union and NATO.
Additionally, Zelensky’s government is working to strengthen economic ties and deepen the friendship with Germany, whom the Ukrainian President met with in Berlin in December 2019, alongside President Putin of Russia. Angry with the Russian-backed separatists in Eastern Ukraine, Zelensky is hoping to cement a relationship with the West to put more pressure on Putin’s autocratic rule.
At a time when heightened levels of instability in the Middle East have been dominating the news cycle, Ukraine is hoping to grab the attention of Western leaders and re-assert its voice in international diplomacy. By strategically courting US, Canadian, French, and German leaders, Ukraine’s leader Volodymyr Zelensky is taking important steps towards a more active role on the global stage.