Vice President Joe Biden reportedly "put pressure" on Ukraine to vote in favor of United Nations Security Council Resolution 2334 in order to protect "the optics" created by the United States' decision to abstain from voting on the issue.
"Did Biden put pressure on the Ukrainians? Categorically yes," an anonymous source with close connections to the Ukrainian government told Tablet Magazine Tuesday, adding, "That Biden told them to do it is 1000% true."
In fact, prior to Biden's conversation with Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko, Tablet reported, the country was planning to abstain, too, but the White House didn't want a second abstention to interfere with "the optics" of a 14-0 vote:
Tablet has confirmed that one tangible consequence of the high-level U.S. campaign was a phone call from Vice President Joseph Biden to Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko, which succeeded in changing Ukraine’s vote from an expected abstention to a “yes.” According to one U.S. national security source, the Obama Administration needed a 14-0 vote to justify what the source called “the optics” of its own abstention.
The latest accusation falls in line with a claim from Ron Dermer, Israel's ambassador to the U.S., that there is "clear evidence" that President Barack Obama's administration helped orchestrate the anti-Israel resolution, which condemned the Jewish state's construction of settlements on land that Palestinians claim as their own.
"We have no doubt that the Obama administration initiated [the resolution], stood behind it, coordinated its versions and insisted upon its passage," Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Sunday.
Though both countries have admitted the Dec. 19 call took place, Poroshenko did not mention any discussion about the resolution and aides to Biden have denied the suggestion:
The phone call between Poroshenko and Biden, which took place on December 19th, has been officially acknowledged by both parties. The Ukrainian presidential administration’s official statement on the particulars of the discussion contains no mention that the settlement vote was discussed. Vice President Biden’s national security advisor Colin Kahl — who, incidentally, was one of the staffers instrumental in a failed attempt to have any mention of Jerusalem removed from the 2012 Democratic Party platform — has tweeted several denials.
According to the Tablet report, the U.S. campaign to force Ukraine to get on board with the U.N. resolution involved much more than a phone call because the Ukrainians wanted to delay the vote several days as a diplomatic gesture to the Israelis. The Obama White House refused.
President-elect Donald Trump has pushed back against the Obama administration's decision to abandon Israel, prompting Netanyahu to take to Twitter Wednesday morning to thank the billionaire businessman for his support.