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.
As part of the launch, they have released a joint statement, a video, and a print ad aimed at highlighting President Trump’s ongoing threats to NATO and former Vice-President Joe Biden’s commitment to championing the military alliance as a bulwark for the people of Central and Eastern Europe against Russian authoritarianism and aggression. The campaign is targeted to ethnic and social media of Americans whose families hail from Central and Eastern Europe.
“The ethnic community leaders and former diplomats who come together today know Central and Eastern Europe. They know America. And they know Vladimir Putin,” said Gen. Clark. “That’s why I join them to warn voters, particularly in battleground states, that, because he threatens NATO, Donald Trump is dangerous to their families’ homelands and to our country. Vice-President Joe Biden, on the other hand, is a proven champion of NATO and of democracy in Europe and around the world.”
He added: “Freedom in nations from the Baltic to the Black Sea, from bigger states such as Ukraine and Poland to smaller ones such as Estonia and Montenegro, is on the ballot in 2020. In the coming weeks, all of us will sound the alarm in every battleground state with direct voter contact – phone calls, social media and the rest. The stakes are too high to do any less.”
“As a Ukrainian American I know how crucial NATO is not only to peace in Europe but also to giving countries as yet outside NATO the confidence and courage to stand up to the dangers of Russian aggression. Ukraine knows this well. The Russian invasion and annexation of Crimea serves as a warning to all of Europe and Ukraine today serves as Europe’s bulwark and the frontline against further Russian aggression, fighting a hot war on its eastern border,” said Ulana Mazurkevich, a Ukrainian American community leader in Pennsylvania.
“After the alliance-weakening Trump presidency, renewed American leadership is essential. Vice-President Biden’s unshakeable and longstanding support for NATO will restore the strength of the alliance, so necessary for American and European security,” she added.
At a virtual press conference on October 12, Mr. Brzezinski and Ms. Mazurkevich – as well as Gen. Clark and Peter S. Ujvagi, a former Ohio state representative and Hungarian American community leader – described President Trump’s efforts to withdraw from NATO, and the long-term repercussions for millions of Central and Eastern European families.
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Among the signatories of the joint statement were activists of the Albanian, Bosnian, Croatian, Czech, Hungarian, Lithuanian, Macedonian, Polish, Romanian and Ukrainian communities. Among the ambassadors who signed the statement was Steven Pifer, former U.S. ambassador to Ukraine. The signatories also included activists of the Albanian, Bosnian, Croatian, Czech, Hungarian, Lithuanian, Macedonian, Polish, Romanian and Ukrainian communities.