The following statement from the Ukrainian Congress Committee of America was released on August 18. Twenty-six years ago, Ukrainians around the world celebrated the long-awaited declaration of Ukraine’s renewed independence. As they watched with jubilation, centuries of foreign domination by the evil empire – the Soviet Union and, before that, imperialist Russia – came to an end without a massive land war or the firing of nuclear missiles. Instead, the Parliament of Ukraine overwhelmingly approved the Act of Declaration of Independence on August 24, 1991, a brave step of civic defiance that was upheld by over 90 percent of Ukraine’s citizens in a nationwide referendum in December of that same year. Yet amid the celebrations, a sense of unease lingered: would our former oppressor truly respect the establishment of an independent, sovereign and democratic state of Ukraine?
NEW YORK – Earlier this month, several U.S. media outlets, so-called political experts and a few government officials began to repeat a false narrative about Ukraine. The Ukrainian Congress Committee of America (UCCA), the largest representative body of Americans of Ukrainian descent, on July 27 issued a statement decrying the false comparison of Ukraine, a strategic ally of the United States, with Russia, a criminal aggressor state, and urging fellow supporters of Ukraine to set the record straight when confronted by these fanciful stories. Stating that these “false accusations, leveled by Russian propagandists,” slander Ukraine’s government and its people, the UCCA decried the omission of Ukraine’s real and lasting ties with the United States, and presented a compilation of examples. Listing a series of bilateral agreements and structures binding the two nations, including the 2008 U.S.-Ukraine Charter on Strategic Partnership, the UCCA further stressed that these false statements, laced with the “‘whataboutism’ originating in Russia,” particularly pain the Ukrainian American community coming “after Russia’s bloodiest attempted advance in 2017 took the lives of 17 Ukrainian heroes.”
Since the beginning of 2017, there have been some 2,000 recorded attacks by Russian forces across the ceasefire line in Ukraine, with dozens of civilians killed this year alone. The full text of the UCCA’s July 27 statement follows.
The following statement was released by the Ukrainian Congress Committee of America on July 6. Earlier today, President Donald Trump was welcomed by throngs of Poles in Warsaw’s Krasiński Square, where he stood at the foot of the Memorial to the 1944 Warsaw Uprising and urged Russia “to cease its destabilizing activities in Ukraine and elsewhere.” Following his re-commitment that the United States “stands firmly behind Article 5,” it was also announced that an agreement was reached to sell eight Patriot missile defense systems to Poland by the end of the year, in a memorandum signed on Wednesday night. The Ukrainian Congress Committee of America (UCCA), the largest grassroots representation of Americans of Ukrainian descent, welcomes today’s acknowledgement by President Trump that Russia has acted against Ukraine. Since the beginning of 2017, there have been nearly 2,000 recorded attacks by Russian forces across the “ceasefire” line in Ukraine, with dozens of civilians killed this year alone. Since January 2017, Russian forces have also resumed firing heavy artillery onto Ukrainian positions and deployed portable rocket launchers among its invading forces.
Below is a slightly abridged text of remarks by U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Marie L. Yovanovitch at the presentation in Kyiv on June 26 of the Council of Europe Venice Commission Rule of Law Checklist. …When I was thinking about this over the weekend and, you know, what would I say and, you know I had to sort of stop for a moment, cause I wasn’t exactly sure what a Rule of Law Checklist actually is. …I am a practical person; I’m not somebody steeped in the law, as probably everybody else in this room is – I’m a practical person. And so, how do you connect the law, you know, the big concepts of rule of law, democracy and human rights, into something that actually makes people’s lives better? And so I love the fact that you are going to be presenting here practical things to think about to help guide this process in Ukraine.
The following statement was released by the Ukrainian Congress Committee of America. Earlier today, President Donald Trump welcomed Ukraine’s President Petro Poroshenko to the Oval Office for a frank discussion about recent developments in Ukraine, as well as continuing the United States’ support of Ukraine in defense of its sovereignty and democratic values. Today’s meeting came on the heels of Speaker Paul Ryan and Chairman of Ukraine’s Parliament Andriy Parubiy meeting last week and signing a memorandum of understanding reaffirming the U.S. Congress- Verkhovna Rada Parliamentary Exchange (CRPE). Also today, the United States Treasury sanctioned 38 additional individuals and entities related to Russia’s continued occupation of Crimea. While all of these developments serve to demonstrate to the world that the longstanding strategic alliance between Ukraine and the United States continues on, we can ill afford to sit back while Russia continues to go on the offensive.
The Ukrainian World Congress issued the following statement on May 18. May 18, 2017, marks the 73rd anniversary of the deportation of Crimean Tatars from Crimea in 1944 on the order of Soviet dictator Joseph Stalin. On this day, declared in 2015 as the Day of Remembrance of the Victims of the Genocide of the Crimean Tatar people by the Parliament of Ukraine, hundreds of thousands of Crimean Tatars were deported from the Crimean peninsula of Ukraine to various regions of the Soviet Union, with close to half perishing either during the journey or within a year of being exiled. The Crimean Tatars returned to the peninsula in 1987, and in March 2014 once again faced persecution, and the curtailment of human rights and fundamental freedoms with the illegal occupation of the peninsula by the Russian Federation. The representative assembly, Crimean Tatar Mejlis, remains banned by the occupying Russian authorities, having been branded as an extremist organization.
The Ukrainian Canadian Congress on May 8 issued the following release. Today marks the 72nd anniversary of Victory in Europe Day (V-E Day). On May 8, 1945, Nazi Germany surrendered unconditionally to the Western Allies and the Soviet Union. World War II in Europe, which had begun in 1939 with the Nazi-Soviet invasion and dismemberment of Poland, was ended. After more than five years of the most brutal war ever inflicted upon humanity, the guns of Europe fell silent on May 8.
The following letter was sent by Rep. Peter J. Roskam (R-Ill.)to U.S. Secretary of State Rex W. Tillerson on April 13. Dear Secretary Tillerson:
As you conclude your official visit to Europe and the Russian Federation, I write to express my strong support for Ukraine and the U.S.-Ukraine relationship. The United States must do everything we can to stop Russia’s hybrid warfare against Ukraine. As Vladimir Putin seeks to destabilize Europe, undermine democratic governments across the region and rebuild an expansionist Russian empire, the U.S. and our allies must remain resolute in our commitment to the Ukrainian people and Ukrainian democracy. At a recent Group of Seven (G-7) meeting, you reportedly raised the rhetorical question to G-7 Foreign Ministers, “why should U.S. taxpayers be interested in Ukraine?” I have held numerous meetings with Ukrainian officials, discussed issues with my Ukrainian constituents and led several solidarity missions to Ukraine.
The Ukrainian Congress Committee of America disseminated the statement below on April 24. On Saturday, April 26, 1986, the worst nuclear power plant disaster in history began with the rupture of Reactor No. 4’s containment at the Vladimir Ilyich Lenin Nuclear Power Station. Conceived to be one of the largest nuclear power plants in history during its construction in the 1970s, Soviet planners located this megastructure 11 miles northwest of the city of Chornobyl, Ukraine, and approximately 62 miles north of Ukraine’s capital and most populous city, Kyiv. Alongside the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster in Japan in 2011, the disaster at Chornobyl remains one of only two man-made catastrophes classified at the maximum level 7 on the International Nuclear Event Scale.
The following appeal was issued by the Ukrainian Congress Committee of America on April 3. For 77 years, the Ukrainian Congress Committee of America (UCCA) has served as the nation’s largest representative body of Americans of Ukrainian descent. Since its founding in 1940, the UCCA has represented the interests of our community and supported Ukraine’s fledging democracy. With new leadership elected during last year’s XXII Congress of Ukrainians in America, as well as the return of prominent national organizations as members, the UCCA is better equipped than ever to create a greater understanding of and stronger advocacy for Ukraine, especially during these perilous times. The UCCA has also forged new relationships with diverse ethnic communities and strengthened old ones, and has continued an ongoing dialogue with elected officials and leading policy makers, while diligently working to advocate a variety of issues.