New York, NY (UCCA) – In her first appearance at a session of the United Nations Security Council, U.S. Permanent Representative to the United Nations Nikki Haley unequivocally stated that “the dire situation in eastern Ukraine is one that demands clear and strong condemnation of Russian actions.” Echoing the position she displayed at her Senate confirmation hearings, at which she stated “we need to make it very clear with Russia where we stand on Crimea and Ukraine,” the Ambassador went on to “condemn and call for an immediate end to the Russian occupation of Crimea.” And further stating, “Crimea is a part of Ukraine.”

In our prepared statement to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee in advance of then-Governor Haley’s confirmation, the Ukrainian Congress Committee of America (UCCA), the nation’s largest representative body of Americans of Ukrainian descent, commended the nomination of the daughter of immigrants to the Presidential Cabinet. Continuing a nearly four-decade history of leadership by a woman in that post, Ambassador Haley follows the appointment of Ambassador Jeanne Kirkpatrick and Ambassador Samantha Power, both of whom were recipients of the Shevchenko Freedom Award, the highest accolade accorded by the UCCA. In voicing her unambiguous statements of support for Ukraine at the very start of her international diplomacy, Ambassador Haley has quickly demonstrated her commitment to safeguard crucial and vital international principles, in the face of an unrelenting and aggressive Russian Federation which seeks to undermine Ukraine’s territorial sovereignty and independence.

The United States, as the bastion of democracy in the free world, bears a moral obligation to take the lead in promoting international norms, and defending basic human rights and freedoms. In contrast to the Ambassador’s statements, as well as those by Secretary of State Tillerson at his confirmation hearing, the new White House administration has at times voiced a neutral position on Russia’s violation of international treaties and conventions. On this there can be no ambivalence: there is no moral equivalence between Russia’s state sponsorship of terrorism and America’s defense of liberty.

Over the course of the past three years, Russia’s war on Ukraine has taken over 10,000 lives, displaced over 2 million civilians (the largest wartime displacement in Europe since WWII), and bears the responsibility for downing a commercial airliner over Ukraine, killing 298 innocent men, women and children. As Ambassador Haley stated, “For the people in eastern Ukraine, the stakes are high. With each passing day, more people are at risk of freezing to death, or dying from a mortar blast.” Our community, like other ethnic communities throughout this great nation whose people and homelands have come under attack by Putin’s Russia, continue to advocate for maintaining and strengthening U.S. and E.U. sanctions against Russia and those companies which support Russia’s illegal actions in Ukraine. We trust that after coming to understand the situation on the ground in Ukraine, as with the previous two administrations, our elected leaders will unify in their support and continue our nation’s historic and unquestioned leadership of liberty and justice for all.

 

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