70th US Secretary of State Michael R. Pompeo participated in the Public Discussion organized by the Victor Pinchuk Foundation and YES

04 April 2023

On 3 April 2023, 70th US Secretary of State Michael R. Pompeo joined the public discussion “US Support For Ukraine - What Must Be Done and Why It Matters” organized by the Victor Pinchuk Foundation and Yalta European Strategy (YES). The participants in the meeting discussed effective means for Ukraine’s response to Russia’s brutal and unprovoked full-scale invasion of Ukraine. Ukrainian leading opinion makers, experts, politicians, civil society, media representatives and Ukrainian students were among the participants of the event.

Nataliya Gumenyuk, co-founder and CEO of the Public Interest Journalism Lab, moderated the discussion. 

In his introduction speech, Victor Pinchuk, businessman and philanthropist said: “Ukraine has been fighting for independence for centuries. But only now we really have a unique chance to get independence. Ukrainians have always been brave, but only now the entire civilized world stands by us. This is our unique chance. And of course, the USA is our greatest partner, and we need their bipartisan support.”

Taking the floor, Mike Pompeo shared his view on why US support to Ukraine is so important: “It matters that we get this right for those who picked up arms to fight on behalf of your country in one of the most noble undertakings that I have ever witnessed in my life. Bless all of you who have done that and taken up this incredible challenge and outperformed the world’s expectations in so many ways. Wonderfully done!”

He noted that Washington is not interested in the world order dominated by violence and aggression: “This is not the world that we want to live in, where someone like Vladimir Putin can make it a shabby and indecent place, a place where violent aggression is rewarded. That is not in America’s best interest to let that happen.”

Mike Pompeo also mentioned China in this context: “The world that Vladimir Putin and Xi Jingpin would like us to inherit is a world that is faithless or hijacks faith on behalf of a political objective. Xi Jingpin drives faith from a public square and Vladimir Putin hijacks Orthodox Christianity for most indecent purposes.”

Ukrainian MP Yuliya Klymenko asked about the prospect of China stepping into Russia’s war against Ukraine. Mike Pompeo said that Beijing had already stepped into this war, since its failure to provide support to Ukraine clearly showed that it sided with Russia: “China’s Communist Party sees Vladimir Putin as a little brother and a junior partner in a long relationship that will benefit the Communist Party economically. And Putin has now made Russia a vassal state of the nation of China. What a strategic failure.”

Yegor Firsov, a rifleman and medic in the Ukrainian army, wondered how the US leadership and society sees Ukraine’s victory in this war: “Don’t you think that the least that Ukraine will accept as a true victory is the overthrow of Putin’s regime if not Russia’s collapse?” Mike Pompeo said that it was up to Russian people to decide that: “In the end, Russian people will have to sort out their model of governance and who their leaders are. This is not for the US or anyone else to say. But we can demand that they don’t invade, don’t terrorize, don’t abduct children and take them to another country.”

“The victory looks like a stable, sovereign and free Ukraine with political control to make its own choices to move forward as a nation. This is how one will know that Ukraine has achieved its objectives,” Mike Pompeo added. 

Combat medic and POW Tayra asked about US predictions of the possible scenarios that Russia has in store for Ukraine. “I think that Vladimir Putin is not about to give up. I think that he is determined, I think he believes that he can domestically and politically survive for some period of time. But I also think that he is aware of the limits as well. And this is the task to demonstrate him the cost. This is the deterrence model. But until deterred, Vladimir Putin will keep doing precisely what he has been doing for the past 13 months,” Mike Pompeo commented.

Wrapping up the discussion, Mike Pompeo praised the values of the Ukrainian society: “They represent the central understanding of protecting basic human rights and human dignity, staring with the idea of religious freedom. You are fighting to protect your economy, your markets, and these are the things that matter - free people, free capacity to practice trade and free markets. You have done a wonderful job of demonstrating what it means to come together as a nation.” 

Besides participation in the public discussion, Secretary Pompeo visited Irpin, where he met with the city administration and humanitarian missions, as well as held a number of meetings, in particular, with Ukrainian soldiers undergoing rehabilitation within the Recovery project, with  Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, Minister of Defense Oleksiy Reznikov, Vice-Prime Minister for the Reconstruction of Ukraine - Minister for Development of Communities, Territories and Infrastructure of Ukraine Oleksandr Kubrakov, Deputy Chairman of the OPU Rostyslav Shurma and others.

Michael R. Pompeo served as the 70th Secretary of State of the US (2018-2021), Director of the Central Intelligence Agency (2017-2018), and was elected to four terms in Congress representing the Fourth District of Kansas. Mike Pompeo graduated from the US Military Academy at West Point, served in the U.S. Army, graduated from Harvard Law School, and worked in the aerospace industry and the energy sector.

Photos are available at the Victor Pinchuk Foundation website

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Newt Gingrich
Newt Gingrich
58th Speaker of the House of Representatives of the United States (1995-1999), 9th YES Annual Meeting, 2012
«Optimism has historically paid dramatically more in America than pessimism»