The Ukrainian Congress Committee of America (UCCA), the largest representation of Americans of Ukrainian descent, sent an urgent letter to President Donald Trump as he departed for summits in Europe this week.
The letter stated that as the President prepares to meet with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Helsinki, “the Ukrainian American community will look to our Commander-in-Chief to not only live up to the United States’ public and binding security guarantees to Ukraine, but clearly state that the people of Ukraine will make up their own minds with regards to national policy.”
In 2014, the United States reaffirmed its commitment to Ukraine’s sovereignty, independence, territorial integrity and the inviolability of borders with the passage of the Ukraine Freedom Support Act, which declared as official state policy that the United States will “assist the government of Ukraine in restoring its sovereignty and territorial integrity in order to deter the government of the Russian Federation from further destabilizing and invading Ukraine and other independent countries.”
UCCA’s open letter states in plain terms that “Vladimir Putin is not an ally of the United States.” At the Helsinki Summit, UCCA urges the President to demand the release of Oleh Sentsov and the over sixty other Ukrainian political prisoners currently being held in Russian custody. Furthermore, UCCA’s letter reminds the President that a United States citizen was among the 298 innocent men, women and children killed by Russian forces when they downed a civilian airliner, MH17, over Ukraine on July 17, 2014.
The Ukrainian Congress Committee of America has maintained that the United States’ sanctions regime against the Russian Federation must be maintained or strengthened until they fully comply with their international obligations regarding Ukraine – including the Helsinki and Minsk Accords and the Budapest Memorandum. This act of compliance must include Russia openly renouncing any territorial claim over the Crimean peninsula, as well as meeting the standards of United States law as currently defined in the Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act and the Ukraine Freedom Support Act, among others.