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Let’s support Ukraine bid to end crisis

COLUMNS
By Robert F Godec | April 12th 2014

By Robert F Godec

Since last November, the people of Ukraine have been striving to define their own future. In the process, they have become a symbol of courage and peaceful change for the whole world.  The international community remains united for Ukraine, respecting Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity, and giving its citizens the space and the support to determine how their country will be run.

Last November in Kyiv, a small group gathered to tell their President that they wanted their voices heard.  He had made a political decision not to sign an Association Agreement with the European Union. They disagreed, and they told him so publicly. That public protest swelled to the tens of thousands. Through the cold winter, they stood together on the Maidan to urge an end to corruption, more economic participation instead of shadowy secret business dealings, and true constitutional protections.

This is not just about Ukraine. It is about basic principles that govern relations among nations in the 21st century. As President Obama stated in Belgium on March 26th, this is a “moment of testing for Europe and the United States, and for the international order that we have worked for generations to build.” This order is based on a set of core principles that include respect for sovereignty and territorial integrity. Just because Russia has a deep history with Ukraine does not mean it should be able to dictate Ukraine’s future. On March 27th, 100 countries aligned in the UN General Assembly in support of the fundamental principles of the UN Charter, in support of Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity, and against Russia’s illegal actions.

Another important point: Political activism in Ukraine today, as on the Maidan through the winter, includes all nationalities and all religions that make up the multi-ethnic country — Ukrainian, Russian, and Tartar speakers alike—have the right to determine their future as a sovereign and democratic nation. 

In May, the population of Ukraine will elect a new president with a mandate to build the future of Ukraine that all of its people want. The citizens of Ukraine have asked for our support as they come together to define their reforms and run their elections.  For the sake of a Europe whole, free and at peace, we all need to stand together, united for Ukraine.

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