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Senators ask Trump to engage with Ukraine before meeting with Vladimir Putin

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WASHINGTON – A bipartisan group of U.S. senators on May 8 sent a letter to President Donald Trump encouraging him to prioritize meeting with President Petro Poroshenko of Ukraine before meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin at the G-20 conference in July.

Identifying the importance of engaging longstanding American allies as a priority for the foreign policy agenda of the new administration, the letter also recommends increased support for institutions and European governments that help preserve the international order.

The letter was sent by Sens. Rob Portman (R-Ohio), Robert Menendez (D-N.J.), John McCain (R-Ariz.), Bob Casey (D-Pa.), James Inhofe (R-Okla.) and Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.).

“As your Administration continues to formulate policies to promote American national security and foreign policy interests, we are writing to strongly encourage you to engage with our traditional allies and prioritize meeting with foreign leaders representing countries with whom we share historical ties, democratic values, and mutual interests,” wrote the senators. “Meeting with democratically elected representatives from Ukraine would send a strong signal that the United States continues to prioritize our relationship with longstanding allies, and will continue our commitments to support Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity in the face of ongoing aggression.”

The full text of the letter follows.


Dear President Trump:

As your Administration continues to formulate policies to promote American national security and foreign policy interests, we are writing to strongly encourage you to engage our traditional allies and prioritize meeting foreign leaders representing countries with whom we share historical ties, democratic values and mutual interests.

We were pleased to see Secretary of State Rex Tillerson attend the meeting of NATO foreign ministers in March after public reports indicated that he might not. We believe it is critical for the United States to maintain high level engagement with our most important allies, and Secretary Tillerson’s participation in this meeting and others like it signals our commitment to our friends and our adversaries alike.

Many of our allies in Europe are anxiously awaiting policy direction from your Administration about our commitments to NATO and other institutions that preserve the international order that has served as the framework for international stability and security since the end of the Second World War. Specifically, along with our most stalwart allies in Europe, we remain concerned about Russia’s continued military aggression in eastern Ukraine and ongoing occupation of Crimea. Because of Russia’s destabilizing influence, approximately 10,000 people have been killed, over 20,000 wounded, and nearly 2 million internally displaced since 2014. This kind of instability can have far-reaching consequences for our allies and our interests in the region.

In this vein, we strongly encourage you to meet with senior leaders from Ukraine, including President Petro Poroshenko, in advance of any official meetings with senior Russian officials including Russian President Vladimir Putin. Meeting with democratically elected representatives from Ukraine would send a strong signal that the United States continues to prioritize our relationship with longstanding allies, and will continue our commitments to support Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity in the face of ongoing aggression.

Source: Office of Sen. Rob Portman

UCCA urges Trump to meet with Poroshenko before meeting with Russian president

WASHINGTON – The Ukrainian Congress Committee of America, in a letter to President Donald Trump dated May 9, urged the U.S. president to meet with President Petro Poroshenko of Ukraine – and to do so before the Mr. Trump meets with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

“The Ukrainian Congress Committee of America (UCCA), the representative organization of over 1 million Americans of Ukrainian descent, respectfully requests that you invite the President of Ukraine, Petro Poroshenko, to meet with you in Washington, D.C., prior to your meeting with President Vladimir Putin,” wrote Andrew J. Futey, UCCA president, and Michael Sawkiw Jr., UCCA executive vice-president.

“A meeting in Washington, D.C., between you, Mr. President, and Ukraine’s President would be a critical sign of support for peace in the region, as U.S. support for Ukraine now is imperative to its survival. Russia’s unrelenting hybrid warfare in Ukraine is destabilizing the international world order. The massive build-up of Russian troops along Ukraine’s eastern border and recent escalating attacks in the eastern regions of Luhansk and Donetsk are continuously threatening Ukraine’s territorial integrity and sovereignty. The U.S. must take definitive action to help stabilize the transnational, trans-Atlantic security framework, which clearly serves our national interests as Americans. Without U.S. support and a commitment to peace, the crisis in Ukraine is only likely to escalate,” they noted.

The UCCA leaders argued that, “As the bastion of democracy in the Free World, the United States must take the lead in promoting international norms and consolidating geo-political stability,” and they urged Mr. Trump “to affirm the United States’ commitment to Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity.”

They cited four security concerns that should be highlighted by the U.S.:

• Condemning Russia’s invasion of Ukraine (both Crimea and eastern Ukraine) and its continued use of hybrid warfare, and calling for the immediate cessation of Russian hostility towards Ukraine;

• Bolstering U.S. financial support for Ukraine by supporting a 21st century “Marshall Plan” aimed at stabilizing and strengthening trans-Atlantic and regional security and providing necessary military support for Ukraine;

• Supporting a U.N. peacekeeping mission (both civilian and military) to eastern Ukraine to monitor the situation on the ground and deter provocations that may lead to further Russian intervention; and,

• Expanding economic sanctions to include not only individuals within Putin’s inner circle, but major sectors of Russia’s economy.

UNIS asks community members
to write to President Trump

WASHINGTON – The Ukrainian National Information Service on May 9 issued an Action Item urging Ukrainian American community members to write letters to President Donald Trump requesting that he invite President Petro Poroshenko of Ukraine to visit the U.S.

UNIS suggested that community members’ letters express pride in having watched “the people of Ukraine dedicate themselves to democratic values during the Revolution of Dignity several years ago” and cite “the onslaught of Russian aggression” being waged upon Ukraine in the form of cyberattacks, outright invasion of sovereign territory, and an unrelenting disinformation campaign.

“The United States, as a strategic partner of Ukraine, ought to acknowledge Ukraine’s recent sacrifices by inviting President Petro Poroshenko to Washington, D.C., before your eventual meeting with Vladimir Putin. Such an acknowledgment would send strong signals to the Ukrainian people about the values of partnership with democratic nations such as ours,” UNIS noted in a sample letter it is disseminating to community members.

Letters to Mr. Trump should be addressed as follows: The President, The White House, Washington, DC 20500. They may also be submitted online at http://www.whitehouse.gov/contact/submit-questions-and-comments.

For further information readers may contact the UNIS office at 202-547-0018 or unis.sawkiw@gmail.com.

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