“Fear and weakness are bad advisers. They play into Russia’s appetites, invite even more aggression and greater human suffering. That’s why Ukraine has always advocated a solution based on the national interests and the will of Ukrainians who wish their country to be independent and prosperous, and their choices free of aggressive dictate. “Let us be clear about red lines that no one in Ukraine would dare to cross – not now, nor in the future: No reversal in European and Euro-Atlantic integration of Ukraine. This would be a surrender of independence, sovereignty and the territorial integrity of Ukraine.

“Three years after the Revolution of Dignity, the Ukrainian economy has stabilized and is ready for growth. …An unsustainable budget deficit of 10 percent of GDP has now been brought down to about 3 percent of GDP, mainly through cuts in public expenditures. …The government has sensibly reduced the exorbitant payroll tax from 45 percent to 22 percent. Foreign payments have reached balance thanks to a necessary devaluation of the hryvnia, and the exchange rate has stabilized on the market. …

“Friends and colleagues, we meet in Hamburg today to reaffirm the same idea that tied us together in Helsinki 41 years ago: that our collective security is directly linked to the growth of our economies and the protection of basic human rights. “…Our task begins in actions where places of violence and assaults on human dignity persist, even where a clear path to peace is staring us in the face. “…the conflict in the Donbas and the occupation of Crimea have gone on for too long, and at tremendous human cost on both sides of the line of contact. It is in the interests of all concerned to end the suffering and the stalemate, and that is why the United States continues to support France and Germany in their efforts as mediators within the Normandy format. It’s why we strongly back the Trilateral Contact Group of the OSCE, Ukraine and Russia.

“…Twenty-five years before James Madison wrote the first amendment to the U.S. Constitution, and 250 years ago to the day, the Riksdag passed the Swedish Press Act – the world’s first law upholding freedom of the press and freedom of information. “’Both our nations understand that information is like oxygen to a democracy. Without it, how can citizens properly assess the challenges and choices before them for collective governance? And if information is like oxygen to a democracy, the press is its lifeblood – the vehicle for synthesizing and transmitting information to every part of the body politic. …

“In Russia, the government spends at least $400 million each year for its propaganda machine of bots and trolls and factories of false content to undermine trust in independent media.

“…Ukraine continues its journey to becoming a democratic, fair and prosperous country at the gates of Europe, a vision that so many of my fellow citizens died for during the Maidan Revolution in the beginning of 2014 and continue to die for defending our country against Russia. “What we have achieved in the last two years we could not have done without the hard work and sacrifice of our people at home and, critically, the staunch support of our partners abroad. The partnership and support of the European Union has been very important. But nowhere has Ukraine found a better friend and more committed ally than the United States. …That continued support is more important now than ever.

“…Most of [Donald] Trump’s statements during the campaign suggested that he can conduct business with Russian President Vladimir Putin, has little interest in Moscow’s aggression in Ukraine, and is ambivalent about NATO’s role in today’s world. But we do not know if he would develop policies based on these statements. In the president-elect’s entourage, only Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn is reputed to have ‘dovish’ views on Russia. But Vice-President-Elect Mike Pence, Sen. Bob Corker, Newt Gingrich and John Bolton all understand the dangers of Kremlin revisionism and have backed stronger U.S. support for Ukraine. They should provide at least a moderating voice, if not a decisive one, in the formulation of the Trump administration’s policies toward Moscow and Kyiv.

“The U.S. should continue to build its security policy on the trans-Atlantic relationship that has led to an unprecedented peace and prosperity for the United States and Europe. Therefore, as commander-in-chief, Donald Trump must display strength towards Russia. Putin only respects a firm and steady hand. The U.S. president must strengthen the U.S. containment and deterrent policy towards Russia to lay the ground for serious dialogue and, ultimately, restore the strategic balance in Europe.”

“The U.S. must increase support for NATO’s eastern flank, set up military bases wherever Russia is threatening the freedom and livelihood of U.S. allies, and wholeheartedly protect Ukraine against future Russian aggression.”

“The Baltics and Ukraine are close friends of the U.S., and neglecting them will have far-reaching consequences and mark the beginning of the end of the U.S.-led system.”

– Former NATO Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen, as quoted by the UNIAN news service on November 9. “Trump is surrounded both by pro-Russian ‘doves’ like Gen. Michael Flynn and hawks who support lethal arms for Ukraine like Newt Gingrich and Sen. Jeff Sessions.

“NATO’s support for Ukraine is unwavering. We will continue to support the territorial integrity and sovereignty of Ukraine. And we do not – and we will not – recognize Russia’s illegal annexation of Crimea. And we are very much concerned about Russia’s continued destabilization of eastern Ukraine. …Ceasefire violations must end and we cannot allow these ceasefire violations to become ‘the new normal’ in Ukraine.

“We have a situation where Russia does not accept the rules in Europe, and so therefore Europe is the most unstable peace. That is different than the Cold War. They are not a status-quo power. They want to re-establish spheres of influence. Our model is Helsinki.

“Lebanon, Turkey, and Jordan are not the world’s only major ‘refugee’ hosting nations. Ukraine too hosts enormous numbers of people who have had to leave their homes because of war. Millions fled their homes in 2014 after Russian operatives and tanks invaded Ukraine’s eastern regions and annexed Crimea. …According to Ukraine’s Ministry of Social Policy, 1.7 million Ukrainians are officially registered as [internally displaced persons]. “…The death and destruction caused by Russia’s occupation, in human terms, is horrific.