Crimean Tatars proved Crimea did not ask for Russian annexation and have paid the price

February 26 is marked in Ukraine as the Day of Crimean Resistance to Russian Aggression. It was on this day in 2014 that Russia had hoped to achieve a coup in Crimea, presenting its annexation to the world as a vote in Crimea’s Parliament to change the peninsula’s status. The elaborate ploy failed, largely thanks to the Mejlis, or self-governing body, of the Crimean Tatar people and the huge demonstration that they called in the square in Symferopol outside Crimea’s Parliament.

The failure of this plan prompted Moscow to order the deployment of Russian soldiers early the next morning. Despite little will from the international community to take real measures against Russia, the involvement of Russian military made sanctions and international refusal to recognize the land-grab inevitable.

Crimea continues to be Putin’s laboratory for repressions he then extends to Russia

All too often since the Crimean Anschluss of 2014, Moscow has used its powers in the occupied Ukrainian peninsula to test out and develop repressive measures that it has then extended to the Russian Federation. Among the most notorious of these, of course, is the use of psychiatric incarceration against dissidents.

That has attracted attention, but it is far from the only area in which this is the case. According to  Michael Talanov, a member of the Free Russia Forum who lives in San Francisco, Moscow has completely isolated Crimea in cyberspace – an obvious test and indication of its broader plans.

March 4, 2015

A bipartisan letter was sent on March 4, 2015, to President Barack Obama, urging him to approve lethal defensive aid for Ukraine in light of a recent ceasefire agreement.

The letter was signed by Speaker John A. Boehner (R-Ohio); House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.); Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Ed Royce (R-Calif.); Rep Eliot L. Engel (D-N.Y.), ranking member of the Foreign Affairs Committee; Armed Services Committee Chairman Mac Thornberry (R-Texas); Rep. Adam Smith (D-Wash.), ranking member of the Armed Service Committee; Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence Chairman Devin Nunes (R-Calif.); Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.), ranking member of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence; Appropriations Committee Chairman Hal Rogers (R-Ky.); Defense Appropriations Subcommittee Chairman Rodney P. Frelinghuysen (R-N.J.); and State and Foreign Operations Appropriations Subcommittee Chairwoman Kay Granger (R-Texas).

Flawed peace plan for Ukraine repeats Kremlin talking points

A distinguished group of American, European and Russian former government officials and think tank experts has taken advantage of the Munich Security Conference to issue a statement recommending 12 steps to bring greater security to Ukraine and the Euro-Atlantic region. For years, the Kremlin has tried to change the conversation on Ukraine, and they are clearly seeking another opening in Munich. In response, 23 former U.S. diplomats, government officials and experts point out their errors. (Source: Atlantic Council’s “Ukraine Alert”)

Most of the 12 recommendations from the Euro-Atlantic Security Leadership Group – if faithfully implemented by all parties – are constructive and could both serve as confidence-building measures and alleviate the difficulties and suffering endured by the population in or near the occupied Donbas. Several are problematic; two in particular echo Kremlin negotiating proposals or disinformation themes. More importantly, the document describes the problem to be resolved in Kremlin-friendly terms, perhaps in order to persuade members of the Russian elite to sign.

Remembering the Nebesna Sotnia, heroes who inspire triumph

The following press statement was issued by the Ukrainian World Congress on February 20.

On February 20, 2020, Ukrainians around the world unite in honoring the memory of the peaceful unarmed protesters remembered as the Nebesna Sotnia heroes [Heavenly Hundred] who were brutally massacred in the center of Kyiv while defending the freedom, dignity and European aspirations of the Ukrainian people.

The tragic events that unfolded on Independence Square six years ago on February 18-20 launched a new era in the modern history of independent Ukraine which was, once again, forced to defend its sovereignty, democracy and territorial integrity from a foreign aggressor. Unsuccessful in its attempt to subdue the Ukrainian people, the Russian Federation illegally occupied the Crimean peninsula and the city of Sevastopol, and invaded the Donetsk and Luhansk oblasts of eastern Ukraine.

Honoring the heroes of the Heavenly Hundred

The following statement was issued by the Ukrainian Canadian Congress on February 20.

On February 20, Ukraine and Ukrainians around the world mark the Day of Commemoration of the Heroes of the Heavenly Hundred (Nebesna Sotnia).

In the fall of 2013, the Ukrainian people took to the streets in protest against the authoritarian, corrupt regime of former president Victor Yanukovych. This movement known as the Revolution of Dignity saw Ukrainians in cities and towns all across the country rise up in defense of their inalienable rights. They demanded rule of law and democracy. They demanded their government treat them with the dignity that every human being deserves. The regime responded with violence.

Ukrainian contribution to “A Century of Progress” World’s Fair is now on display

CHICAGO – When President Franklin D. Roosevelt congratulated the organizers of 1932-1933 World’s Fair called “A Century of Progress,” he said he hoped it would “bring about friendship among the nations of the earth.” Newly arrived Ukrainian immigrants understood that such a friendship could thrive only among nations that truly knew one another. So they mustered all of their resources and built one of the largest pavilions – the only national structure not sponsored by a foreign government – in which to introduce the gems of Ukrainian culture to the world.

Now, the public can view 2,500 artifacts from that pavilion at the Ukrainian National Museum in Chicago – where it is indeed bringing about friendship among the Windy City’s diverse ethnic residents who are scheduling showings of the catalogued exhibit. More and more school groups and private individuals are learning about the immigrants who enabled today’s thriving Ukrainian Village, with its gourmet restaurants, glittering domes and hot real estate values.

Survivor testimonies and presentations on the Holodomor now available online

MONTREAL – The Montreal restoration project of Holodomor resource material for educators and the general public, undertaken by Yurij Luhovy and Zorianna Hrycenko, provides additional resource materials on the Holodomor.

Filmed in 1983, the final two phases of a major three-part project which began in May 2018 and was completed by January 2020, has now been posted online. The Holodomor project, which commemorated the 50th anniversary of the 1932-1933 Great Famine in Soviet Ukraine, leaves an important record of the work done in the diaspora to safeguard historical memory for future generations.

Book spotlights ‘new faces’ in Ukrainian Catholic Church in Canada

OTTAWA – Over the past quarter-century, an eclectic congregation has transformed the liturgical nature and enlivened the parish life at St. John the Baptist Ukrainian Catholic Shrine in Ottawa.

This mainly young group of people – none of whom are ethnic Ukrainian and many who were not raised Catholic – has breathed new life into not only the shrine community, but the overall Ukrainian Greco-Catholic Church in Canada.

Dialogue focuses on how to engage young adults in the Ukrainian Catholic Church

WASHINGTON – “As the newly elected archbishop-metropolitan of the Ukrainian Catholic Church of the U.S., what do you want to do?” This was the question posed to the newly appointed Archbishop-Metropolitan Borys Gudziak as he met with the Synod of Bishops in 2019. The group of 52 anxiously waited as the archbishop pondered this question; after a brief period of silence, he answered: “I want to listen.”

In September of this year, the Synod of Ukrainian Greek-Catholic Bishops will convene to discuss the future of the Ukrainian Greek-Catholic Church (UGCC). During this gathering, they will delineate a 10-year pastoral plan on how to address the current needs of the Church, and how to resolve the issues the Church faces in the 21st century.