Pending U.S. Legislation Relating to Ukraine
Former reps: Increase support to Ukraine to deter Russia
by Mike Fitzpatrick, Jim Gerlach, Dennis Hertel and Jim Moran
The Hill, January 17, 2017
Note: Mike Fitzpatrick and Jim Gerlach formerly served as Republican congressmen from Pennsylvania. Dennis Hertel served as a Democratic congressman from Michigan and Jim Moran served as a Democratic congressman from Virginia. They are the founders of the Former Members of Congress for Ukraine, an initiative of the U.S.-Ukraine Foundation.
After the popular Maidan uprising in Kyiv three years ago, Russia seized and illegally annexed Crimea from Ukraine and launched a war in the Donbas, Ukraine's eastern region. In response, America and its allies sanctioned Russia and have aided Ukraine.
But the U.S. must increase support to democratic Ukraine and strengthen deterrence against Russian aggression.
Protests erupted in November 2013 when Ukraine's exceptionally corrupt President Viktor Yanukovych reneged on signing an association agreement with the European Union. Three months later, he fled Ukraine for Russia after his gunmen slaughtered 100 peaceful demonstrators on Kyiv's Maidan square and his backers abandoned him.
Seeing Ukraine slip from Russia's orbit, the Kremlin seized control of Crimea and dispatched mercenaries to the Donbas. The surprise takeover of Crimea was bloodless, but in the Donbas the mercenaries were unable to build popular support for separatism. As Ukrainian defenders rolled them back, Russian armed forces intervened and a military stalemate ensued.
Moscow continues to wage a simmering war in the Donbas, where some 10,000 people have been killed. Ukraine is among the world's countries with the highest number of internally displaced persons. It has lost control of one-tenth of its territory.
Moscow also failed to incite popular uprisings in the Kharkiv and Odessa regions - but that is not surprising. In the 1991 independence referendum, over 90 percent of Ukrainians, including over 80 percent in eastern Ukraine, voted "yes." Multiple elections in Ukraine have resulted in peaceful transfers of power, a democratic hallmark. Large majorities of Ukrainians are alienated from Russia and seek life in the European family.
Russia and its mercenaries in the Donbas have failed to implement the cease-fire agreed in the February 2015 Minsk accords. They refuse to allow the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe to monitor the Ukrainian border with Russia in the occupied area.
Russian shells continue to pummel Ukrainian soldiers.
Moscow's aggression blatantly violates international treaties and the 1994 Budapest Memorandum by which Russia, the U.K. and U.S. pledged to respect Ukraine's territorial integrity and independence. These assurances were provided in return for Ukraine giving up its post-Soviet nuclear arsenal, then the world's third-largest.
Moscow claims its actions in Ukraine respond to the eastward expansion of NATO and the European Union. In fact, the Kremlin's real motive is to exercise a coercive sphere of influence over neighbors, a prescription for their permanent insecurity.
The United States should act in several ways.
First, Congress should urge the White House to provide Ukraine with lethal defensive arms, the supply of which the Congress authorized in a $350 million security aid package. Advanced anti-armor missiles could put at risk Russia's most modern tanks and help deter fighting.
Second, the immediate U.S. emphasis must be on inducing Russia... To read the full release: CLICK HERE
Keep America's Word Again - and Protect Ukraine
Clinton made assurances when Kiev gave up nukes. Then Obama broke faith.
Trump can restore it.
By Robert McConnell
The Wall Street Journal, January 9, 2017
Does "making America great again" include living up to the country's commitments to other nations? Senators should put that question to Secretary of State-designate Rex Tillerson at his confirmation hearing Wednesday-especially with regard to Ukraine, which gave up its nuclear weapons in the 1990s in exchange for assurances that the U.S. has failed to meet.
More than 90% of Ukrainians voted for independence in a December 1991 referendum; it was the only former Soviet republic to condition its independence on a vote of its citizens. Independence would have left Ukraine with the world's third-largest nuclear arsenal, but leaders in Kiev did not wish to be a nuclear-armed state. The parliamentary declaration of independence, which the voters approved, included a provision that Ukraine would be "nuclear free." Thus the people of Ukraine voted for a nuclear-free state.
In several little-known 1992 meetings in Washington, Ukraine expressed its desire ... To continue, CLICK HERE
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