Friday, March 17, 2017

Congressional Support for Ukraine Needed
Even since before Ukraine regained its freedom in 1999, Ukrainian Americans had worked closely with their elected representatives in Washington to champion the cause of Ukraine’s independence and sovereignty. While Ukrainian Americans have advocated on behalf of freedom for Ukraine since their arrival upon these shores, their efforts became structured and enhanced when the Ukrainian Congress Committee of America established the Ukrainian National Information Service in Washington in 1977.
Obviously, the first to benefit from this organized campaign was the government and Embassy of independent Ukraine, which bolstered the community effort on a governmental level.
In the past, in the days of the evil empire, the work focused on national rights activists, clergy and so-called dissidents. Nowadays, as a result of the Russo-Ukraine War of 2014-17, attention shifted to realistically assisting Ukraine in defending itself against the invader.
Unfortunately, after three years of fighting against Russian invaders, Kyiv is not any closer to securing peace and stability for its Ukraine and the region. In February 2014, as the 2014 Winter Olympic Games were winding down, host country Russia violated the UN Charter by invading Ukrainian regions of Crimea and soon afterward Luhansk and Donetsk.
Since then, 2,000 soldiers were killed, nearly 10,000 Ukrainian men, women and children were lost their lives, 23,000 wounded, and nearly 2 million were internally displaced. More than 7% of Ukraine was seized by Russia and millions of Ukrainians in occupied regions are being subjected to endless Russian terror.
The free world’s interest has not been detached from this bloodletting. France and Germany have organized truce negotiations with Ukraine and Russia, but, unfortunately, Moscow never abided by the agreements and persisted with its bloody invasion. The United States, Canada and other EU countries instituted major economic sanctions against Russian officials and oligarchs, which have been disregarded as the Kremlin continues its aggression against Ukraine. Sanctions against Russian must be continued and Moscow must be banned from global events until it withdraws from Ukraine.
For all intents and purposes, today’s Russia, which is a mere extension of tsarist and soviet communist despotism, has not changed its historical imperial policies. Ukraine and Ukrainians are again being compelled to singlehandedly defend the European Union from Russia’s western onslaught.
Ironically, at a time when Ukraine most needs a strong and determined United States in its corner, the White House’s current occupant President Donald J. Trump dangerously favors Russian President Vladimir Putin.
Ukraine is left with no other recourse than again to depend on Ukrainian Americans and their elected officials in Washington, DC.
This year, Senators and Congressmen, who understand the global peril posed by Russia, have introduced seven resolutions that if adopted will help Ukraine defend itself from Russian aggression. Without a doubt, any form of negotiated compromise with Russia will be detrimental to Ukraine and the free world. Any thought of freezing hostilities and allowing Russian mercenary-terrorists to illegally administer occupied Ukrainian lands, will be harmful to Ukraine and the free world. Ukrainian Americans must insist that their elected officials demand a complete and unconditional Russian withdrawal from Ukraine.
If you support Ukraine and the other x-captive nations in their struggle against Russian aggression, call your elected officials’ offices and insist that they endorse these resolutions:

Introduced in House (01/12/2017)
Crimea Annexation Non-recognition Act
This bill states that is U.S. policy to not recognize the de jure or de facto sovereignty of the Russian Federation over Crimea, its airspace, or its territorial waters.
The bill prohibits any federal agency from taking any action or extending any assistance that recognizes or implies recognition of the de jure or de facto sovereignty of the Russian Federation over Crimea, its airspace, or its territorial waters.
The President may waive such prohibitions if such a waiver is vital to U.S. national security interests

Introduced in House (02/02/2017)
STAND for Ukraine Act
The bill urges that the Government Publishing Office not print any document indicating Crimea as part of the Russian Federation (Russia).
U.S. sanctions provided for in Executive Orders 13660, 13661, 13662, (blocking property of persons contributing to the situation in Ukraine) and 13685 (blocking property of persons contributing to the situation in Crimea) shall remain in effect until the President certifies to Congress that:
·                     Ukraine's sovereignty over Crimea has been restored, or
·                     The status of Crimea has been resolved to the satisfaction of a democratically elected government of Ukraine.
The Support for the Sovereignty, Integrity, Democracy, and Economic Stability of Ukraine Act of 2014 is amended to authorize the President to block and prohibit a foreign person's transactions of property or property interests that are U.S.-sited or controlled by a U.S. person if the foreign person has knowingly: (1) violated such executive orders, or (2) facilitated deceptive or structured transactions for or on behalf of any person subject to U.S. sanctions against Russia.

Introduced in House (02/03/2017)
Calling on the Russia Federation to Stop the Violence in Ukraine
(1) calls on the Russian Federation to;
(A) stop the violence in Ukraine;
(B) honor the ceasefire agreed to under the Minsk Accord;
(C) withdraw heavy weapons and troops from Ukraine’s sovereign territory;
(D) stop financing the separatists in eastern Ukraine;
(E) allow repairs to critical infrastructure; and
(F) fulfill all of its Minsk commitments;
(2) expresses its sense that continued and further unlawful Russian aggression in Ukraine may warrant considering the imposition of additional and more burdensome sanctions on the Russian Federation;
(3) calls on the United States and other NATO countries to provide more defensive military support for Ukraine in fighting off Russian aggression; and
(4) calls on the United States and the United Nations and its constituent agencies to provide more support for the 1,700,000 internally displaced people in Ukraine.

Introduced in Senate (01/11/2017)
Countering Russian Hostilities Act of 2017
A bill to impose sanctions in response to cyber intrusions by the Government of the Russian Federation and other aggressive activities of the Russian Federation, and for other purposes.

Introduced in House (02/15/2017)
Russia Sanctions Review Act of 2017
 To provide for congressional oversight of actions to waive, suspend, reduce, provide relief from, or otherwise limit the application of sanctions with respect to the Russian Federation, and for other purposes.

Introduced in Senate (02/07/2017)
Expressing Unwavering Commitment of the United States to NATO 
A resolution expressing the unwavering commitment of the United States to the North Atlantic Treaty Organization.

Introduced in Senate (02/08/2017)
Russian Sanctions Review Act of 2017
A bill to provide for congressional oversight of actions to waive, suspend, reduce, provide relief from, or otherwise limit the application of sanctions with respect to the Russian Federation, and for other purposes.

Officials’ Shared Views
American government officials and military officers share the views held by the Ukrainian American community regardless of partisan affiliation. A few of them we’ve listed here:

February 1, 2017
UN Security Council
U.S. Permanent Representative to the United Nations, Ambassador Nikki Haley
“The United States continues to condemn and call for an immediate end to the Russian occupation of Crimea … Crimea is a part of Ukraine. Our Crimea-related sanctions will remain in place until Russia returns control over the peninsula to Ukraine.”

February 14, 2017
Washington, Times op-ed
Gen. Philip Breedlove (ret.)
“Russia views our interactions as zero-sum and believes that the best way to bolster itself is by degrading America. Russia doesn’t just seek to break the rules of the international order; it seeks to rewrite them. Russia sees itself as a great power, able to drive outcomes on the world stage at will. And Russia has made it clear that it is willing to use military force to back up its claims and achieve its ends.”

Security Assistance to Ukraine:
January 12, 2017
Senate Armed Services Committee
James Mattis confirmation hearing
Q:  Do you support continued U.S. security assistance to Ukraine? If so, what strategy would you propose counter Russia's hybrid tactics which have employed both hard and soft power?"
A: I support aid to Ukraine in support of their sovereignty.”

Community Follow Up
If you tweet, regularly tweet messages aimed at your elected officials “Twitter handle” – @ – along with appropriate hashtags such as #SupportUkraine requesting their support for the previously listed resolutions. Elected officials Twitter handles can be found on their websites. Tweet often for each resolution and tell your friends to retweet your tweets.

Suggested tweet template:

Help Ukraine in its war against Russian invader. Support (list specific resolution) @YourElectedOfficial #SupportUkraine

It is safe to say that when these tweets reach a critical mass, then the free world and government leaders will recognize that by saving Ukraine, they will save the world from Russian subjugation.