Ukrainian sailors complete U.S. Coast Guard training

BALTIMORE – The morning rains receded quickly and a blustery, sunny Friday unfolded just in time for the outdoor graduation ceremony of 32 Ukrainian officers and sailors at the U.S. Coast Guard shipyard, just south of Baltimore on March 26.

U.S.-Ukraine Foundation to hold virtual conference on innovation, technology

WASHINGTON – The topics of innovation and reform in Ukraine’s political and economic development will be explored during a two-day online conference on December 15 and 16.

The event, organized by the U.S.-Ukraine Foundation (USUF), will also examine the impact of the U.S. presidential election on U.S.-Ukraine bilateral relations, as well as cooperative priorities and opportunities to advance both public and private strategic partnerships.

UIA holds virtual gala to mark its 72nd anniversary

NEW YORK – A wedge of cabbage… hanging over a cocktail glass? Yes – but only for a “Borscht Martini”! Conjuring such a rara avis (recipe at close of this article) was one of many prequel videos on the website of the Ukrainian Institute of America (UIA) prior to kickoff for its October 25 “2020 Gala Honoring all Ukrainian Medical Personnel.” The goal was to raise $72,000 (this year is the 72nd year of the UIA).

UIA board members spun lively commentaries in real time. The center-piece was an informative “Fireside Chat” about COVID-19, flanked by many pre-filmed messages from artists and notables, plus assorted musical performances from near and far. For online viewers, UIA’s website offered videos of past events at UIA.

Cook County of Illinois provides election ballots in Ukrainian

CHICAGO – Voting is a basic civic duty in a democracy. In 1975, the U.S. Congress added language-access provisions to the Voting Rights Act of 1965. Under Section 203 of that amended act, jurisdictions must provide language assistance if more than 10,000 or 5 percent of voting-age citizens belong to a single language minority group, have depressed literacy rates and do not speak English very well. The Ukrainian community of Cook County in Illinois has a population that fits this description, based on the 2010 Census.

One of the goals of the Ukrainian Congress Committee of America-Illinois Division (UCCA-Illinois) is “to coordinate and consolidate development of organized Ukrainian life in the U.S. and strive to increase the importance and role of the Ukrainian American community in the civic and cultural life of this country.”

Ethnic leaders, former ambassadors warn of Trump’s attacks on NATO

Editor’s note: The press release below was sent by a coalition of ethnic community leaders (among them Ukrainians) and former U.S. diplomats.

WASHINGTON – A group of American ethnic leaders from Central and Eastern Europe (CEE), together with former U.S. ambassadors to NATO and 14 CEE nations; Gen. Wesley Clark, former NATO Supreme Allied Commander; and Ambassador Mark Brzezinski, former U.S. ambassador to Sweden; on October 12 announced a campaign warning voters in battleground states of the danger that re-election of President Donald Trump poses to freedom in so many countries of their heritage.

UCCA and UWC seek volunteer observers for Ukraine’s local elections of October 25

NEW YORK – On Sunday, October 25, the citizens of Ukraine will be casting ballots for local legislators throughout the country. Held under a new electoral law, whereby the role of local officials has been significantly enhanced due to recent decentralization reforms, the election is for deputies of district councils, rural township and city mayors.

In light of the upcoming local elections, the Ukrainian Congress Committee of America (UCCA), together with the Ukrainian World Congress (UWC), is seeking volunteers to serve as international election observers. Given the worldwide pandemic and various travel restrictions, the Election Observation Mission (EOM) will rely mainly on expats already residing in Ukraine.

As Ukraine’s population shrinks, Kyiv stalls dual citizenship bill

CHICAGO – A dual citizenship bill designed as part of Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy’s plan to encourage foreigners of Ukrainian heritage and those living abroad to return home has stalled in the Verkhovna Rada.

It was initially drafted by the Ukrainian World Congress (UWC) jointly with the Kyiv-based National Institute of Strategic Studies and submitted to the Presidential Office last November. Mr. Zelenskyy registered the bill in the Verkhovna Rada in January and it was tabled for consideration six times before being removed from the legislature’s agenda on May 19, the Parliament’s website shows.

Ukraine Caucus applauds House passage of programs supporting Ukrainian democracy

WASHINGTON – The co-chairs of the Congressional Ukraine Caucus, Reps. Marcy Kaptur (D-Ohio), Andy Harris (R-Md.), Mike Quigley (D-Ill.) and Brian Fitzpatrick (R-Pa.), released a statement applauding the inclusion in several appropriations bills funding for vital programs that support key efforts to strengthen democracy in Ukraine.

“We are thrilled the House increased U.S. security and development assistance to Ukraine for Fiscal Year 2021,” the CUC co-chairs said on August 26. “In doing so, the U.S. continues to demonstrate the American people’s unwavering support for the Ukrainian people’s prosperous and democratic future, free from Russian aggression. With this increase in security assistance, Ukraine will be able to strengthen its naval defenses in the strategic Black Sea and beyond. The development and anti-corruption assistance will be crucial in the fight against the influence of the rapacious oligarchs, whose greed stifles Ukraine’s forward progress. We look forward to working with our Senate colleagues to ensure these increases pass Congress and make it to the president’s desk for signature.”