04 August 2015
Below is the statement delivered by UCCA Executive Board Member, Andrij Dobriansky, at the Congress:
Ankara, Turkey (UCCA) – On August 1-2, 2015, the 2nd World Congress of Crimean Tatars gathered in Ankara, Turkey. Sadly, instead of marking a joyous celebration, this historic occasion was overshadowed by the current Russian occupation of the indigenous Tatar homeland - Crimea.
Shortly after masked gunmen stormed the Supreme Council of Crimea in a pre-dawn raid, the world awoke to the reality that the world’s largest country, Russia, which possesses the largest known number of nuclear warheads, had yet again militarily invaded a sovereign territory. Russia not only blatantly violated the UN Charter with its actions in February of 2014, but also the Helsinki Final Act, the 1994 Budapest Memorandum, and at least 2 bilateral agreements between Russia and Ukraine, not least of which was the so-called “Friendship Treaty.”
Immediately after the invasion began, the Ukrainian Congress Committee of America (UCCA), the nation’s largest representation of Americans of Ukrainian descent, began its campaign of advocacy for the liberation of Crimea. In short order, the UCCA condemned the invasion, called upon its resources to entreat similar condemnations from elected officials in Congress and the United States, proposed numerous military and non-military responses that the United States could initiate, and advocated for an immediate high-level US delegation to visit Ukraine.
Over the past year, the UCCA has continued to underscore the plight of the indigenous Crimean Tatar people and occupied Crimea in our repeated condemnations of Russia’s crimes, as well as in our advocacy work in Washington, D.C., where we mobilized to support initiatives such as the Crimean Annexation Non-Recognition Act. We welcome the incredible level of cooperation on display in our US communities, with ethnic Ukrainians and Crimean Tatars working together, alongside a coalition of Central and East European diaspora organizations representing over 20 million Americans, demanding Russia's complete and permanent withdrawal from the Crimean peninsula.
On the auspicious occasion of the 2nd World Congress of Crimean Tatars, the Ukrainian Congress Committee of America once again calls on our President and our leaders in the US House and Senate to put aside political differences and stand together with all the people of Ukraine, to further military cooperation with Ukraine and enact sectoral sanctions against Russia. To our Crimean Tatar brethren who gathered in Ankara, we wish you great success in achieving your Congress’ resolutions, firm in our belief that through our combined efforts we will see the Congress return to the Crinean Tatars’ indigenous homeland in the future.
We take this opportunity to affirm our friendship and cooperation with the World Congress of Crimean Tatars. Know that we stand united against our common foe for the benefit of all freedom-loving people of Ukraine. Slava Ukrayini! Slava Krymu!
Founded in 1940 to provide authoritative information about the plight of Ukrainians, the Ukrainian Congress Committee of America has a long history of actively pursuing issues which affect the Ukrainian American community and Ukraine. Following the collapse of the Soviet Union, the UCCA redirected its efforts toward supporting Ukraine's democratic development and encouraging free-market reform while working to strengthen bilateral relations between the U.S. and Ukraine.