UCCA Statement on Ukraine’s Day of Remembrance for the victims of the Crimean Tatar Genocide

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Every 18th of May, communities across the world pause to reflect on the mass murder of over 100,000 Crimean Tatars, a genocide conceived of and perpetrated by Josef Stalin, in the course of the Soviets physically removing all indigenous people from the Crimean peninsula in 1944. Approximately 238,000 deportees, 113,000 of whom were children, 93,000 women, were rounded up in the early morning hours, placed on cattle cars, and sent away to far-off Soviet farm collectives and forced labor camps. This Sürgün, or “violent expulsion,” remains hidden in the annals of 20th century atrocities, just as the brutal colonization of Crimea in 1783 by Tsarist Russia, which saw tens of thousands of indigenous Crimean Tatars drowned alive for the amusement of their captors.

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On the 30th Anniversary of the Chornobyl Catastrophe

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Thirty years ago today, the worst nuclear disaster in history occurred at the Chornobyl Nuclear Power Plant, causing irreparable harm and tragic human, natural and economic losses to Ukraine and its people.

On the night of Saturday, April 26, 1986, an act of unforgivable negligence at the Chornobyl Nuclear Power Plant in Northern Ukraine resulted in disaster. An explosion at the plant blew the concrete roof off of Reactor #4 sending large amounts of toxic radioactivity billowing into the atmosphere.  This was not simply an industrial accident, but the unimaginable result of carelessness and disregard on the part of Soviet authorities, that led to human tragedy on a massive scale. Cognizant of their error, the regime did the unthinkable. It imperiled millions of lives by remaining silent and refusing to admit that anything out of the ordinary had happened! It wasn’t until Swedish diplomats, having detected abnormal amounts of radioactivity within their own country, gave notice on Monday, April 28th of their impending desire to file an official alert with the International Atomic Energy Agency, that Moscow finally issued this brief five-sentence statement, which read: “An accident has occurred at Chornobyl Nuclear Power Station.  One of the atomic reactors has been damaged.  Measures are being taken to eliminate the consequences of the accident.  Aid is being given to the victims.  A government commission has been set up.”

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UCCA Honors Ukraine’s Day of Dignity and Freedom

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New York, NY (UCCA) -- For a land with centuries of tradition, November 21st is only a recent commemorative date in Ukraine’s history. On this Day of Dignity and Freedom, the Ukrainian Congress Committee of America joins our brethren across the world in celebrating the indomitable Ukrainian spirit which manifested itself in the growth of European identity among the Ukrainian electorate during the historic 2004 Orange Revolution, and the defense of these democratic values, rights and freedoms for which the Ukrainian people “laid body and soul” during the 2013-2014 Revolution of Dignity.

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The UCCA Condemns the Ongoing Occupation of Crimea

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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.

SAVE THE DATE “UKRAINIAN DAYS” – AN ADVOCACY EVENT TO BRIEF CONGRESS ON IMMEDIATE AID TO UKRAINE

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Washington, DC (UNIS) -   The Ukrainian National Information Service (UNIS), the Washington public-affairs bureau of the Ukrainian Congress Committee of America (UCCA), has sponsored two “Ukrainian Day” advocacy events this year – one in March, and the most recent one in mid-July on the eve of the 1st anniversary of the downing of MH17.  Both events brought dozens of participants to Washington, DC to meet with government agencies and non-governmental organizations (NGO’s) involved in formulating and monitoring U.S. policy toward Ukraine, as well as to interact with Members of Congress to discuss the community’s concerns of additional, desperately needed assistance to Ukraine.

In mid-September, UNIS will once again sponsor “Ukrainian Days” advocacy event on Wednesday and Thursday, September 16-17, 2015. This endeavor is especially critical considering the war being waged in eastern Ukraine against the foreign-borne Russian-supplied terrorists.  The goal of “Ukrainian Days” is to encourage Members of Congress to enhance support of military assistance to Ukraine to fend off the terrorists and preserve Ukraine’s territorial integrity, sovereignty, and independence, as well as to bring attention to Ukraine’s economic situation and the resounding number of internally displaced persons because of the war.  The “Ukrainian Days” event will also honor individuals who have contributed to the betterment of U.S.-Ukraine relations with a reception and presentation of the “Friend of UNIS Award”.

Founded by the UCCA during the height of the Cold War in 1977, UNIS has been instrumental in advocating the community’s concerns for almost four decades. Its unwavering commitment in bringing about independence for Ukraine and, since 1991 enhancing the bilateral relations between Ukraine and the United States, has earned it much respect throughout Washington.

SAVE THE DATE: SEPTEMBER 16-17, 2015!  Join us in advancing our community’s concerns in Washington and celebrate a “Ukrainian Evening” on Capitol Hill. Further information will be forthcoming on the UNIS Facebook page and the UCCA website at www.ucca.org.

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