Following is the text of a press statement issued on April 25 by John Kirby, assistant secretary of state and State Department spokesperson, Bureau of Public Affairs.
On this 30th anniversary of the Chornobyl disaster, our thoughts remain with the victims, from the emergency workers who gave their lives to prevent an even greater disaster, to those living in the area affected by the fallout. The United States marks this anniversary with a pledge of an additional $10 million dollars to help ensure the safety of future generations who live in the affected area. This pledge comes on top of the more than $400 million the U.S. has already committed to the international effort to help Ukraine restore the site of the accident to an environmentally safe and secure condition. As we reflect on the tragedy of Chornobyl, so too must we recognize the progress that has been made to complete a new confinement structure for the destroyed reactor, which should soon be moved into place. The structure is designed to protect the surrounding environment for the next 100 years and allow for the safe clean-up of Chornobyl.
Ukrainian diplomats say they are working for the return of the sister of jailed Ukrainian pilot Nadiya Savchenko after she was prevented from leaving Russia at the end of a visit related to her sister’s case. Vira Savchenko was reportedly stopped and detained by Russian border guards who seized her passport as she attempted to return to Ukraine in a Ukrainian diplomatic car on April 27. The younger Savchenko was later released and taken to the Ukrainian Consulate in Rostov-on-Don, Dmytro Kuleba, Ukraine’s representative to the Council of Europe, said on Facebook on April 28. Mr. Kuleba said Vitaliy Moskalenko, Ukraine’s consul general in Rostov-on-Don, negotiated Vira Savchenko’s release after “a heated debate with the Russians.” Mr. Moskalenko was sent to the border by Kyiv to aid Vira Savchenko. Vira Savchenko’s passport had been returned to her, Mr. Kuleba added.
HOUSTON – Knights of Columbus Council 8293, associated with St. Justin Martyr Catholic Church in Houston, on March 11 held a fund-raiser for the Knights of Columbus Councils in Ukraine. Council 8293 members read in the December 2015 edition of Columbia, the monthly magazine of the Knights of Columbus, an article about their brother Knights in Ukraine, which spoke to all of their good works being done for the people of Ukraine. Based upon this article, Council 8293 decided to host a fund-raiser and sought the support of St. Justin’s pastor, the Rev. Paul Chovanec.
JERSEY CITY, N.J. – The Jersey City branch of the Ukrainian American Youth Association held its annual meeting, with members and invited guests gathering at the Ukrainian National Home on April 9. Branch President Oksana Bartkiv welcomed everyone present. Senior UAYA member Volodymyr Kovbasniuk was elected to chair the meeting. He introduced senior member of the UAYA national board Dmytro Lenchuk, who was the official representative of the national executive. Ms. Bartkiv was the first of the branch officers to report, giving a very detailed account of all events in which the branch had participated during the year, concentrating on the UAYA program.
LOS ANGELES – The Ukrainian Art Center (UAC) together with the Ukrainian Women’s League of America (UNWLA) participated In this year’s Pysanka on March 20 presented on March 20 by Ukrainian Culture Center. It was a day to remember, full of fine and folk art, traditional foods, music and dance. This year’s main focus was hosting the art exhibit “From Heart to Heart,” featuring the work of some very special children that was sent by the Odesa-based charity Eleos with the Ukrainian Children’s Support Fund (Vilnius). Odesa has no hospice care for disabled and terminally ill children or respite care for their exhausted parents, who face a lack of public understanding, limited financial resources and tremendous isolation. Eleos launched its “From Heart to Heart” program of visiting health workers to provide palliative and respite care.
The Harvard Ukrainian Summer Institute (HUSI) will hold its 46th annual session at Harvard University’s main campus on the banks of the Charles River in Cambridge, Mass. It is the first of its kind in the world and is recognized for its many contributions to Ukrainian studies. This year’s program will run for seven weeks beginning on Saturday, June 18, and running through Saturday, August 6, and will offer three courses. It is run jointly by the Harvard Summer School and the Harvard Ukrainian Research Institute (HURI). Participants will have an unparalleled opportunity to expand their knowledge of contemporary Ukraine; to learn from some of today’s leading scholars in Ukrainian studies; and to have the chance to meet and interact with leading contemporary Ukrainian political, cultural, and social activists.
With all the renovations taking place at the Soyuzivka Heritage Center (see The Ukrainian Weekly, March 27) in preparation for the new season, it was a stroke of luck for The Ukrainian Weekly to get the manager, Nestor Paslawsky, to agree to a quick interview about what the summer of 2016 has in store for visitors to this beloved venue. Below is our quick Q & A with Mr. Paslawsky aimed at keeping readers in the know. How are the renovations going? What can guests look forward to this year when they book a stay at Soyuzivka? We’ve been very busy preparing for this season.
As school years wind to an end, an entire new generation of Ukrainian Americans heads for Ukrainian summer camps. Many of these are organized by Plast Ukrainian Scouting Organization. Plast has three flagship campgrounds nationwide – from Vovcha Tropa in the upstate New York town of East Chatham, to Novyi Sokil near Buffalo, N.Y., and Pysanyi Kamin, not far from Cleveland. Three primary age groups are welcome to participate in Plast camps, provided they first sign up to their local Plast troop (visit goo.gl/f8X8I4 for details). Among these age groups are “ptashata” for children age 4-6, “novatstvo” for children age 6-11 (equivalent to cub scouts) and “yunatstvo” for those age 11-18 (equivalent to scouts).
The Ukrainian American Youth Association (UAYA, or “CYM” in Ukrainian) is part of a global network of Ukrainian youth organizations that strives to provide opportunities for Ukrainian youth of all ages to affiliate, grow and identify as members of one large Ukrainian community. Thus, an important aspect of UAYA’s mission involves the planning and organization of youth camps at various sites around the country. UAYA offers a variety of camp experiences for children age 2-17 at five different sites (oseli) across the United States: Oselia CYM in Ellenville, N.Y., Oselia Beskyd in Baraboo, Wis., Oselia Kholodnyj Yar in Fillmore, NY, Oselia Khortytsia near Cleveland and Oselia Kyiv near Detroit. The “Huseniata” half-day camp for children ages 2-3 introduces children to the Ukrainian camp experience and provides early learners a developmentally appropriate Ukrainian discovery experience within a supportive and playful environment. This camp is offered exclusively in Ellenville and runs in two consecutive week-long sessions.
Another summer approaches as the membership of the Ukrainian American Youth Association prepare for a stellar summer of festivals, concerts, camping, outdoor recreation and outdoor dances in Ellenville, N.Y.
George Mykytyn, president of the Ukrainian American Youth Association’s (UAYA) national board, states, “We embrace this summer by celebrating some of our youngest campers. This year, we mark our 30-year anniversary of our Sumeniata camps, attended by our 6- to 7-year-old members. Reflecting as a parent on my own children’s participation in these first camps reminds me of the importance that our work does for our youth and how, as Ukrainian diaspora parents, we strive to give our children as much of our rich Ukrainian culture, language and knowledge that we can.”
The festival season kicks-off with the annual Lemko Vatra produced by the Organization in Defense of Lemkivshchyna. This colorful festival scheduled for the weekend of June 25-26 is unique in its style and entertainment, which focuses on the deep cultural traditions and heritage of Lemkivshchyna and the Carpathian regions of Ukraine. A focal point of this summer’s events includes the sixth annual Nadiya Ye!