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Ukraine protest 11 26 18 Nadiya 4

EANC Washington, DC Director Karin Shuey (center with glasses) supporting protest at Russian embassy. Photo credit: Nadiya Shaporynska

 

In the wake of Putin’s recent aggressive action against the Ukrainian navy in the Sea of Azov, there has been an outpouring of support and calls to action from Ukraine’s friends and allies. EANC and the Estonian government were among the first to speak out.

 

EANC responded the day after the news broke by drafting and sending letters to the editor to seventeen U.S. newspapers expressing our condemnation of the actions and calling on the U.S. government to respond. Our Washington, DC Director, Karin Shuey also attended a protest hosted by the organizations U.S. Ukrainian Activists and United Help Ukraine in front of the Russian embassy that evening.

 

We continue to coordinate with our Ukrainian colleagues to make their message heard on Capitol Hill and in the Administration.

 

The Ukrainian Congress Committee of America is EANC’s Central and East European Coalition (CEEC) counterpart representing Americans of Ukrainian descent. They have requested advocacy support in Congress on the following specific points. Their full statement is available at this link.

 

• The immediate release of all 24 Ukrainian prisoners of war as well as over 70 Ukrainian political prisoners illegally held in Russian captivity;

 

• The deployment of naval vessels from NATO member states to Ukrainian and NATO ally ports in the Black Sea;

 

• The immediate return of the two unarmed Ukrainian naval artillery vessels, the Nikopol and Berdiansk, and one military tugboat, the Iany Kapu;

 

• Increasing military assistance to Ukraine by utilizing measures already authorized by the John S. McCain National Defense Authorization Act, which would bolster Ukraine's naval capabilities, as with the recent transfer of the two excess Island-class cutters from the United States Coast Guard to the Ukrainian military;

 

• Strengthening sanctions against the Russian Federation - and specifically sectoral sanctions – including banning Russia from the SWIFT international payments system, and restricting the rights of anonymously-owned “shell” companies to buy property or access the financial system;

 

• The announcement of a temporary ban by Ukraine’s allies on the issuance of official and business visas for citizens of the Russian Federation until such time as the captured seamen are returned.

 

Estonian Prime Minister Jüri Ratas and Foreign Minster Sven Mikser quickly condemned the Kremlin’s actions, as reported by ERR News on November 26th. President Kaljulaid said of the attack, “We have to call things by the right names – this is war in Europe. The Ukrainian people have been at war since 2014, and Crimea remains under occupation” (also reported in ERR News on November 27th).

 

The Baltic Times praised the Baltic governments for “coming up with the fastest and clearest statements in support of Ukraine.” They quoted Ukrainian news source eurointegration.com.ua as saying, “The Baltic states were the most sincere and outspoken supporters of Ukraine, calling things by their right names regardless of whether the truth might insult the Russians.” 

 

The U.S. Senate also took quick action by passing bipartisan legislation on November 29th to condemn Russia's provocative actions in the Kerch Strait against the Ukrainian navy. The resolution also:

 

• calls upon the Government of Russia to immediately release all Ukrainian crew members and vessels and to cease its harassment of Ukrainian and international shipping transiting the Kerch Strait;

 

• reaffirms the unwavering support of the people and the Government of the United States for the people of Ukraine and Ukraine’s territorial integrity; and

 

• calls upon the President and the entire Administration to implement an all-ofgovernment approach to forcefully express opposition to the Russian Federation’s November 25, 2018, attack on Ukrainian forces at every opportunity.

 

President Trump cancelled a meeting with Putin planned on the sidelines of the G20 summit in Argentina in response to the attack.

 

EANC invites Estonian Americans to contact their Senators and Representatives to echo the points outlined above by our Ukrainian colleagues. If you do make such contact, please inform our Washington, DC director at  This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

 

Karin Shuey

Washington, DC

Director Estonian American National Council

www.estosite.org

 

                     *                      *                      *

 

IMG 2808

EANC Washington, DC Director Karin Shuey began a Ukraine-support letter campaign by submitting

the letter below to 14 newspapers throughout the U.S. She also sent a version to the EANC Council's membership as a letter for Members of Congress. Board member Sirje Kiin sent it as an open letter to her Senator in her local newspaper, and the paper published it.

 

Dear Senator John Thun:

The Russian Navy’s recent actions against the Ukrainian Navy are a threat not only to Ukraine but also to U.S. national security. 

 

The Kremlin’s violations of Ukrainian sovereignty illustrate precisely why Estonian Americans are grateful that Estonia is a member of NATO. Defense of U.S. national interests begins with the nations along Russia’s western borders, and Estonia is on the front lines of Putin’s aggression. 

Preservation of democracy in all countries bordering Russia is essential to protecting our American values here at home.

 

We are proud that our parents’ homeland of Estonia has met NATO’s benchmark of 2% of GDP on defense spending since 2013 – meeting the Administration’s criteria for “paying what they should” toward NATO’s mission. We also value the significant contribution Estonia makes to the alliance’s security as the home of the expertise that built the NATO Cooperative Cyber Defence Centre of Excellence in the Estonian capital, Tallinn.

 

That the Ukrainians, our Eastern European friends and neighbors, were finally provided with the Javelin missile system is a big step forward in protecting America. A path toward NATO membership for Ukraine would further expand NATO’s umbrella to secure stability and democracy in a nation that has long sought to establish itself as our partner in the fight against a corrupt Kremlin.

 

We condemn the recent actions of the Russian Navy, support strong and effective cooperation with the Ukrainian government in defending its sovereignty against the Kremlin’s attacks, and call on the U.S. government to do the same.

 

Best regards,

Sirje Kiin, PhD

The Board Member of

Estonian American National Council (EANC)

 

The representative of EANC in Estonian World Council

 

618 N. Blanche Ave Madison, SD 57042, USA

Cell: 605 270 1391

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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