NEW YORK – Following a series of ongoing discussions with the American Jewish Committee (AJC), the Ukrainian Congress Committee of America (UCCA), the representative organization of the over 1 million Americans of Ukrainian descent, initiated a joint letter to President Barack Obama to underscore that the risks for the “United States and the wider democratic world could not be higher in the ongoing aggression by the Russian Federation and its proxies against Ukraine’s territorial integrity.”
The letter, which was also signed by leaders of 11 other ethnic organizations in the U.S., underscored the belief that “the United States must prevail in defending the rights of Ukraine and other nations in the region to live free of unwanted outside involvement, to protect their sovereignty and independence.”
The letter was signed by executive officers of national organizations, including the AJC, Armenian Assembly of America, Belarusian-American Association, Czechoslovak National Council of America, Estonian American National Committee, Georgian Association in the United States, Hungarian American Coalition, Joint Baltic American National Committee, Lithuanian American Community, Inc., Lithuanian American Council, Polish American Congress, Slovak League of America and the UCCA.
The signatories urged the president to consider additional measures to demonstrate U.S. support for Ukraine by providing additional financial assistance and lethal defensive military, and apply additional multilateral sanctions against Russia.
The leaders also asked for a meeting with President Obama in order to discuss “this grave situation [in Ukraine] in greater detail.”
As the situation remains critical in Ukraine, the Ukrainian American community, together with other ethnic communities, remains steadfast in its support of Ukraine and calls upon the United States to recognize the urgency of the crisis in the region, the UCCA noted.
The full text of the letter reads as follows.
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We are a group of organizations united in the firm belief that the stakes for the United States, and the larger democratic world, could not be higher in the ongoing aggression by the Russian Federation and its proxies against Ukraine’s territorial integrity and right to chart its own destiny.
We know you agree. Last month, for example, you laudably declared: “The 21st century cannot have us stand idle and simply allow the borders of Europe to be redrawn at the barrel of the gun.”
Yet the tragic reality is that, despite the determined diplomatic, economic and other efforts of the United States and European Union to change the Kremlin’s policy, the annexation of Crimea continues, the destabilization in eastern Ukraine persists, and Ukrainian lives are being lost to the violence inspired, if not instigated, by the Russian Federation.
This is a tragedy of immense proportions. Ominously, it threatens to get still worse, both for Ukraine and other countries in the region that fear Moscow’s long shadow and willingness to interfere in their domestic affairs.
Mr. President, we must prevail in defending the rights of Ukraine and other nations in the region to live free of unwanted outside involvement, to protect their sovereignty and independence, and to be able to choose their friends. They pose no danger to anyone, yet the danger to these nations is ever so real, as we have chillingly witnessed in Ukraine.
We urge you to consider additional measures to demonstrate our nation’s unstinting support for Ukraine, including the provision of further financial assistance, lethal defensive military equipment to allow the people of Ukraine to better protect themselves, and heightened bilateral and multilateral sanctions against Russia to raise the price for its unjustifiable behavior. In doing so, you will have our full support and, we believe, the vast majority of the American people, who do not want to see such menacing behavior against a democratic nation continue.
It would be our earnest hope to have the opportunity to meet with you, Mr. President, to discuss this grave situation in greater detail, and to see how we might best be able to help our country achieve these worthy aims.