18 March 2016
It should come as no surprise to our fellow Americans, and those who value freedom and equality as basic human rights, that the Ukrainian Congress Committee of America (UCCA), the representative organization for the over one million Americans of Ukrainian descent does not, has not, nor will ever recognize Russia’s March 2014 staged plebiscite in Crimea. Russia’s military invasion and current illegal occupation of Ukrainian territory has shed Ukrainian blood from day one, while journalists, activists and community leaders who support Ukraine’s territorial integrity continue to “disappear” from their native land. In the words of Ambassador Samantha Power, U.S. Permanent Representative to the United Nations, “Russia’s attempted annexation of Crimea is not a one-time violation of Ukraine’s sovereignty, but rather represents an ongoing, continuous violation, one that persists for every day that Russia continues to occupy the peninsula.”
After two years of the illegal occupation of Crimea, Russia has once again escalated its crimes by seeking to deprive the Indigenous Crimean Tatars of their representative body, the Mejlis. By exporting his inhumane anti-extremism legislation to Crimea, Vladimir Putin has found yet another devious method to target the leadership of Ukraine’s indigenous population, who had already suffered through Stalin’s 1944 act of genocide and earlier periods of ethnic cleansing at the hands of the Russian Tsars.
The UCCA urges the United States of America to enforce stricter sanctions against those who choose to ignore Russia’s heinous crimes, and encourage the international community to intensify their condemnation of Russia’s aggression towards and illegal occupation of Ukraine. Ukraine must take its rightful place among the free nations of Europe, as a sovereign and whole nation.