Thursday, August 25, 2016

The 25th Anniversary of Ukrainian Independence Is Marred by Russian Aggression

           Ukrainians this week observed the 25th anniversary of Ukraine’s independence from the Soviet Union

            Alas, Ukraine’s independence today has never been more threatened, as Russia has invaded parts of it and even annexed Crimea, and supports pro-Russian rebels fighting to separate lands from Ukraine, despite the Russian Federation’s treaty obligations, as the successor to the Soviets, in which it acknowledges Ukraine’s independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity, including Crimea.  Two and a half thousand Ukrainian soldiers have been killed in the fighting in eastern Ukraine, as well as many civilians. 

Russia’s foreign policy has been hostile to Ukraine in various ways and recently has included mobilizing troops not only on the Russo-Ukrainian border, but also in neighboring Moldova, on Ukraine’s western flank.  Moldova has protested Russian military exercises being conducted in pro-Russian breakaway Transnistria.  The United States and its European allies should continue to maintain economic and other sanctions on the Russian Federation and provide more than the minimal defensive assistance to the Ukrainian military, including lethal weapons in order to deter further Russian violation of Ukraine’s independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity, for when these principles are threatened anywhere, they are threatened everywhere.  

I congratulate the people of Ukraine on their quarter century of independence, and wish them the blessings of continued independence and sovereignty, as well as peace, liberty, representative government and prosperity.

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