There appears to be a coordinated effort to denigrate Petro Poroshenko as a viable candidate for re-election. No doubt, Vladimir Putin and his FSB agents are seeking to destabilize Ukraine, including the upcoming elections in 2019, specifically, by tying Mr. Poroshenko to corruption and causing dissension among Ukrainians. Corruption is a very important issue to Ukraine’s long-term viability. Certainly, there is much to be done in Ukraine. Mr. Putin has picked this issue because it affects every Ukrainian citizen; there is no quick fix.
The strong support that Ukraine has received in recent years, especially from the U.S. Congress, did not occur in a vacuum. It is the result of much work by individuals and institutions over the course of many years, indeed, over the last century. An important component of laying the groundwork was the commemoration of important anniversaries, whether it be the annual Independence Day (both 1918, and for the last 26 years, 1991) or one-offs such as the 1988 Millennium of Christianity of Kyivan Rus’.
The following press statement by Heather Nauert, spokesperson for the U.S. Department of State, was released on February 19.
Four years ago, Ukrainians from all walks of life and all regions of the country came together on the Maidan, Kyiv’s central square, to demand their government recognize the choice of the citizens of Ukraine to join Europe. Scores of Ukrainians – the “Heavenly Hundred” – gave their lives on the Maidan for the dream of a better Ukraine. The United States will continue to stand by Ukraine as it faces ongoing Russian aggression, which has claimed over 10,000 lives and displaced more than 1.6 million Ukrainians.
The Ukrainian World Congress released the following statement about the heroes of the “Nebesna Sotnia” (Heavenly Brigade) on February 19.
On February 20, 2018, Ukrainians worldwide will mark the fourth anniversary of the tragic events on Kyiv’s Independence Square that brutally and mercilessly cut short the lives of the women and men who, with their heroism, thrust Ukraine into the international spotlight ensuring that the Ukrainian people would not stand alone in the fight for the democratic values, fundamental rights and principles that define Western civilization.
Ukraine-born skater Olena (Aljona) Savchenko and French skater Bruno Massot won gold in the pairs free skate event at the Olympic Games in PyeongChang. The duo scored 159.31 points, setting a world record. Savchenko’s partnership with Massot began in March 2014. Savchenko and Massot have won the German Figure Skating Championships in 2016 and 2018. Born in Obukhiv, near Kyiv, she competed for Ukraine since her early career achievements at junior world competitions beginning in 1998 until the 2002 Salt Lake City Olympics.
With paper angels, flowers and fond words for the dead, Ukraine marked the anniversary of a bloody crackdown on the Euro-Maidan protests that drove a Moscow-friendly president from power four years ago. The annual commemorations honor protesters who were killed in clashes with security forces in Kyiv on February 20, 2014 – a group of victims Ukrainians call the Heavenly Hundred. On Twitter, President Petro Poroshenko praised those killed as “true angels who protected Ukraine.” He noted: “They gave the most precious thing they had – their lives – for a better destiny for all of us, and forever became the guides for future generations of free Ukrainians.” Some 1,000 paper angels were affixed to trees lining Kyiv’s Instytutska Street, where some of the protesters were killed. Mr. Poroshenko and his wife, Maryna, were among many who laid flowers at a memorial in Kyiv’s Independence Square – Maidan Nezalezhnosty – known as the Monument to the Heavenly Hundred. The Euro-Maidan movement began in November 2013, when protesters gathered on the Maidan after then President Viktor Yanukovych announced he was postponing plans to sign an Association Agreement with the European Union and would seek closer economic ties with Russia.
ROCHESTER, N.Y. – On January 28, five students from Ukraine, currently pursuing baccalaureate or graduate degrees at the University of Rochester and Nazareth College, participated in a panel discussion on current events in Ukraine. The community event, held at the Ukrainian Federal Credit Union, was co-hosted by the Ukrainian-American Community Foundation at Ukrainian FCU and the Rochester Ukrainian Group.
JENKINTOWN, Pa. – On January 26, Manor College held its 15th annual Founders Day, where more than 150 people from the Manor community gathered for three different events on campus to commemorate this day. Nicholas Rudnytzky, chair of Adult and Continuing Education and Founders Day master of ceremonies, stated “This is a wonderful annual tradition when the college gathers and collectively reflects upon its roots and heritage. It is such a blessing that our founders, the Sisters of St. Basil the Great, come over and see that their labor of love, the only Ukrainian Catholic institution of Higher Learning in the United States, under the stewardship of Dr. Jonathan Peri, is doing precisely what they had in mind over 70 years ago, that is, fostering reverence, respect and instilling the virtue of service to others in the next generation of leaders.
ROCHESTER, N.Y. – The Ukrainian-American Community (UAC) Foundation recognized Dr. Christine Hoshowsky, president of the Rochester Ukrainian Group, with a Certification of Recognition and Appreciation for her community support and generous donations of $2,000 to the UAC Foundation Graduate Scholarship Fund. Vladimir Tokarchuk, a biomedical engineering student at the University of Rochester, and Maryana Zakharchishin, a family nurse practitioner at St. John Fisher College, each received a $1,000 scholarship award. The presentations were made on January 27. Evhen Lylak, Ed.D. (Rochester Institute of Technology), Olena Prokopovych, Ph.D. (Nazareth College), and Olenka Dilai (Monroe Community College) served on the Graduate Scholarship Committee.