US determined to help Ukraine
Highlighting that the United States stands with Ukraine in its efforts to forge its own path forward to a freer, peaceful, and unified future, the United States of America today revealed its approaches for Ukraine to effectively address its challenges.
In her testimony before the Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe (Helsinki Commission)in Washington DC, Asssistant Secretary Victoria Nuland revealed US approaches to Ukraine’s challenges which include four pillars.
One is US bilateral and multilateral support for Ukraine. Second, it notes the the costs US is imposing on Russia for its aggressive actions. Third, the approach includes efforts to deescalate the crisis diplomatically. Fourth, this one points to US unwavering commitment to the security of its NATO Allies who also live on the frontlines of this crisis.
US supports Ukraine’s transitional government
According to Ms. Nuland, US support the kraine’s transitional government in the courageous steps they are taking to restore economic health, democratic choice and internal stability and security to the country.
Ms. Nuland stressed that the United States stands ready to help as the country addresses its immense challenges. In fact, US $1 billion loan guarantee will help implement reforms particularly in elevating the economic status of the Ukrainian society.
In addition, the US government has approximately $92 million in FY 2013 State/USAID funding and an anticipated $86 million in FY 2014 State/USAID funding for assistance to Ukraine in areas such as strengthening anti-corruption enforcement efforts, and revising public procurement legislation, introducing agriculture and energy sector reforms.
Russia under fire
Ms. Nuland said Russia is already paying a high price for its actions, and that cost will go up if its pressure on Ukraine does not abate.
“Across the board, Russia has found itself isolated.” – Ms. Nuland
She noted that the United States along with all other G-7 members declined to attend the Sochi G-8 Summit and suspended participation in G-8 activities.
On March 27th, the United States and 99 other countries in the UN General Assembly reaffirmed the unity and territorial integrity of Ukraine within its internationally recognized borders.
Out of the 99 cuntries, only 11 voted against.
In addition, US and its allies have suspended practical cooperation between NATO and Russia. In fact, the US has suspended most bilateral economic and military cooperation of the U.S.-Russia Bilateral Presidential Commission.
“And today we are considering further measures in response to Russia’s continued pressure on Ukraine.” – Ms. Nuland
With the sanctions, Russia has been downgraded by major credit rating agencies on account of its actions.
Ms Nuland warned that these costs will only increase if Russia does not change course.
US wants to de-escalate the crisis.
According to Ms. Nuland, Secretary John Kerry has met three times with Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov in recent weeks, with the support of the Ukrainian government at a time when Russia would not meet directly with Ukraine.
Foreign Minister Lavrov finally agreed to sit down in the next ten days with Ukraine, the EU and Secretary Kerr to discuss de-escalation, demobilization, support for elections and constitutional reform.
The US aaserts that Russia needs to take concrete steps to disavow separatist actions in Eastern Ukraine, pull back its forces outside the country
“Our message to Putin and Russia is clear: NATO territory is inviolable.” – Ms. Nuland
US and its allies will defend every piece of NATO territory as well.
Annexation of Crimea to Russia strongly denounced by US and EU
The Obama administration has denounced the election and threatened sanctions if Russia will not widraw its military movement in Crime. US has imposed visa bans and asset freezes to stop the referendum.
Joining th US, the European Union have warned of more sanctions on individuals and even include financial institutions does not de-escalate.
Why Russia is holding on Crimea
Crimea is home to many ethnic Russians and strategically important to Russia. Russia’s Black Sea Fleet is based in Crimea providing Russia’s navy access to the Mediterranean Sea.
The Kiev government, the Obama administration and its allies claimed the referendum is unconstitutional. They said the referendum is not nationwide and violates international agreements.
With the self-determination of Crimea made possible, there is an apprehension that it would set an example for other breakaway regions around the world.
Ukrainian people on protest!
In December 2012, Kiev is engulfed by unrest when massive protest by pro-EU protesters stood their ground after an overnight sweep by riot police.
The authorities sent in battalions of riot police with bulldozers to reclaim the Independence Square. There were records of scuffles and arrests. However, the riot police avoided entering the nearby City Hall and by morning they withdrew from the streets.
In a press statement in Washington DC, US Secretary of State John Kerry condemned the destruction of a protest camp in central Kiev.
The turmoil started in November 2013 when the President Yanukovich yielded pressure from Moscow and spurned a free trade deal with the EU.