New York (UCCA) – Increasingly over the past few months, the ideological battleground that is social media has seen an uptick in attacks targeting Ukraine. A vast majority of these messages are automated by Russian networks, simply repeating their old messages in order to weaken the overwhelming support of Ukraine by the West. The most disturbing messages, however, are those that can be sourced to voices featured in U.S. media, or worse yet, by government officials.

As with its 2008 and 2014 invasions of Georgia and Ukraine, respectively, Russia repeatedly deflects criticism, by the tried and true tactic of Whataboutism. Designed to delude both domestic and foreign audiences, this Cold War technique has been re-deployed by Russia to divide the American and Ukrainian people through false rumors and innuendo. Currently, Russia’s state outlet RT heavily promotes the fanciful story that the revelation of surreptitious contact with agents of the Russian government should be treated no differently than the open, mutual support of the Ukrainian and United States governments.

The false accusation, levelled by Russian propagandists, slandering the Ukrainian government of attempting to harm its strategic ally, the United States, would be laughable had it not been picked up by several U.S. media outlets, so-called political experts, and government officials. Unfortunately, continued public statements by those ignorant of the facts can have a lasting effect on the flourishing U.S.-Ukraine relationship.

Today’s statement by the President of the United States repeating such allegations only serves to harm this strategic alliance. While this administration has made strides in advancing U.S.-Ukraine cooperation, such statements pain our community, coming only days after Russia’s bloodiest attempted advance in 2017 took the lives of 17 Ukrainian heroes, and left dozens more injured.

The Ukrainian Congress Committee of America (UCCA), the largest grassroots representation of Americans of Ukrainian descent, maintains our long-held belief that the security of the United States lies in the expansion of democracy and mutual security guarantees best demonstrated in the history of U.S.-Ukraine relations. To combat Whataboutism originating in Russia, we urge our fellow supporters of Ukraine to set the record straight whenever possible.

The following facts serve to clarify the special relationship between the United States and Ukraine:

v While the United States did not formally establish diplomatic relations with Ukraine until 1991, during Ukraine’s decades of Soviet occupation, hundreds of affirmations of Ukraine’s individual sovereignty and cultural identity were proclaimed year after year by U.S. municipalities, resolutions by Congress, as well as statements by U.S. Presidents (including yearly commemorations of Captive Nations Week). Those affirmations were officially recognized by the state of Ukraine after its independence as proof positive of the special relationship between the two countries.

v When the Soviet Union ceased to exist, Ukraine commanded control over the 3rd largest nuclear arsenal in the world, with more nuclear weapons than China, France, and the United Kingdom combined. With the encouragement of the United States, the people of Ukraine voluntarily rid the world of its stockpile of nuclear warheads, and in the process ensuring that those weapons would not end up in the hands of North Korea, Iran or a radicalized terror cell.

v Since 1991, the United States and Ukraine have entered into numerous bilateral agreements, including investment and economic treaties, the formation of the U.S.-Ukraine Council on Trade and Investment, Bilateral Energy Security Working Group as well as the U.S.-Ukraine Charter on Strategic Partnership.

v Since 1992, the US-Ukraine Trade Agreement has provided reciprocal most-favored-nation tariff treatments to the products of each country. Furthermore, Ukraine successfully “graduated” from the Jackson-Vanik amendment in 2006, permitting trade to flourish between the largest country in Europe and the leader of the free world.

v After the Cold War ended, independent Ukraine joined the North Atlantic Cooperation Council (1991) the Partnership for Peace programme (1994) and the Charter on a Distinctive Partnership (1997), which established the NATO-Ukraine Commission (NUC).

§ Ukraine today stands as the only non-NATO partner nation to have contributed actively to all NATO-led operations and missions for the past 20 years.

§ Today, Europe’s largest country – Ukraine – is on pace to field Europe’s largest military, with spending levels exceeding NATO’s minimum defense spending standards.

v Signed in 2008, the U.S.-Ukraine Charter on Strategic Partnership affirmed, among other points, the following shared values between the United States and Ukraine:

§ Support for each other’s sovereignty, independence, territorial integrity and inviolability of borders

§ Our shared belief that democracy is the chief guarantor of security, prosperity and freedom.

§ Defense and security cooperation partnerships between the United States and Ukraine is of benefit to both nations.

§ The importance of the security assurances described in the Trilateral Statement by the Presidents of the U.S., Russian Federation and Ukraine of January 14, 1994, and the Budapest Memorandum on Security Assurances in connection with Ukraine’s accession to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons of December 5, 1994.

v Numerous multilateral agreements signed by both the United States and Ukraine were violated when Russia invaded Ukraine in 2014. That military attack and subsequent armed occupation of Ukrainian sovereign territory, constitute a daily violation of all conceivable international law and standards, including the Conference on Security and Cooperation in Europe (CSCE) Final Act (often referred to as the Helsinki Final Act), the Treaty on Conventional Armed Forces in Europe (CFE), the United Nations Charter (specifically United Nations General Assembly Resolution 3314 on the use of "aggression" between member states) and the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.

 

v 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. This law declares 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.”

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