13 December 2016New York (UCCA) – Almost three years after Russia’s military invasion and illegal occupation of Ukrainian territory - not a one-time violation of Ukraine’s sovereignty, but an ongoing, daily violation of international law - the Ukrainian Congress Committee of America (UCCA), the nation’s largest representation of Ukrainians in America, calls on the incoming 115th United States Congress and President-elect Donald Trump’s incoming administration to continue our nation’s proud tradition of bipartisan support for Ukraine. Any retreat from current sanctions levied against Russia or the military, political and economic support of Ukraine, and the United States would signal yet another “reset,” a capitulation with terrifying consequences for Ukraine, our European partners and security around the world.
The Ukrainian-American community and supporters of the Euro-Atlantic security structure are rightfully concerned about the prospect of a change in U.S. policy regarding Russia’s international violations. After Russia invaded Georgia in 2008, the first deployment of Russia’s military against an independent state since the fall of the Soviet Union, the United States imposed unilateral sanctions on Russia when the E.U. failed to act. Following the 2008 elections, a new era in America’s relationship with Russia was announced, and U.S. sanctions against Russian entities were dropped in exchange for support against Iran’s weapons program at the United Nations. That very same year, Russia involved itself in the 2010 Ukrainian presidential elections to install a puppet regime under the leadership of Viktor Yanukovych. Only after Russia’s open military invasion of Ukraine in 2014, and the downing of a civilian airliner by Russian forces, were critical sanctions levied against Russia by the United States and our international partners.
Ukraine can ill afford yet another change of mind from an incoming U.S. administration. Unified, steadfast and explicit commitment to Ukraine’s sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity needs to be explicitly stated from the start, rejecting any form of recognition of Russian rule over Crimea and demanding the immediate withdrawal of covert and overt Russian forces and equipment from Ukraine. Strong U.S. support for Ukraine through meaningful assistance programs such as the Ukraine Freedom Support Act, the Ukraine Security Assistance Initiative, the Countering Disinformation and Propaganda Act and other pieces of enacted legislation remain critically important now and in the coming years, especially in the face of unceasing bloodshed, the displacement of nearly 2 million refugees within the European continent, and the ongoing need to secure Ukraine’s borders.
We call upon the Ukrainian community and supporters of Ukraine to contact your congressional representatives in your local districts during the congressional break and advocate against yet another 'Russia reset'.