Ukraine Policy statements

Man wearing hard hat turning a valve on a pipeline
A worker at the Volovets gas station in western Ukraine operates a valve. (AP Images)

Key Documents on U.S. policy on Ukraine

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Latest U.S. Policy News on Ukraine

April 24, 2019
State Department on Russia’s Decision to Grant Expedited Citizenship to Residents of Russia-controlled Eastern Ukraine

April 22, 2019
State Department on Ukrainian Presidential Elections

February 27, 2019
Secretary Pompeo: Crimeo is Ukraine
“In the Crimea Declaration of July 25, 2018, the United States reaffirmed its refusal to recognize the Kremlin’s claims of sovereignty over Crimea. The United States also condemns Russia’s illegal actions in Crimea and its continued aggression against Ukraine.”

2018

December 06, 2018
DOD Statement on Open Skies Flight Over Ukraine
Today, the United States and Allies conducted an extraordinary flight under the Open Skies Treaty. The timing of this flight is intended to reaffirm U.S. commitment to Ukraine and other partner nations.‎
The United States is resolute in our support for the security of European nations.

November 26, 2018
Secretary Pompeo’s Call With Ukrainian President Poroshenko (State.gov)
Secretary Michael R. Pompeo spoke on the phone with Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko today to discuss Russian aggression against Ukraine in the Black Sea near the Kerch Strait. Secretary Pompeo reiterated strong U.S. support for Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity, extending to its territorial waters. President Poroshenko expressed gratitude for U.S. statements of support and underscored the importance of Western nations remaining united in the face of Russian aggression. Secretary Pompeo agreed and expressed appreciation for Ukrainian steps to de-escalate the situation with Russia.

November 26, 2018
Russia’s Dangerous Escalation in the Kerch Strait (State.gov)
The United States expresses its deep concern over the incident in the Black Sea that occurred November 25 as Ukrainian vessels attempted to transit through the Kerch Strait. Reports that Russian vessels rammed and fired on the Ukrainian ships, injuring Ukrainian crewmen, before seizing three vessels, represent a dangerous escalation and a violation of international law.

November 23, 2018
Marking the 85th Anniversary of the Ukrainian Holodomor (State.gov)
This month we join Ukrainians around the world in marking the 85th anniversary of the Holodomor, when millions of innocent Ukrainians were deliberately starved to death by the regime of Josef Stalin. The Soviet Union’s barbaric seizure of Ukrainian land and crops was undertaken with the deliberate political goal of subjugating the Ukrainian people and nation. This catastrophic man-made famine was one of the most atrocious acts of the twentieth century and a brutal reminder of the crimes of communism.

June 05, 2018
Department Spokesperson Heather Nauert on The Importance of an Independent Anti-Corruption Court for Ukraine  (State.gov)
“The United States calls on the government of Ukraine to implement deep, comprehensive, and timely reforms that reflect the demands the people of Ukraine made during the Revolution of Dignity: an end to systemic corruption, faster economic growth, and a European future for all Ukrainians.
The establishment of a genuinely independent anti-corruption court is the most important, immediate step the government can take to meet those demands and roll back corruption that continues to threaten Ukraine’s national security, prosperity, and democratic development.”

May 25, 2018
Calling Russia To Account for Malaysia Airlines Flight MH-17 (State.gov)
Spokesperson Nauert: “As the findings of the Joint Investigative Team made clear, the BUK missile launcher used to bring down the passenger aircraft is owned by the Russian Federation and was assigned to the Russian 53rd anti-aircraft brigade near Kursk. It was brought into sovereign Ukrainian territory from Russia, was fired from territory controlled by Russia and Russia-led forces in eastern Ukraine, and was then returned to Russian territory. We urge Russia to adhere to UNSCR 2166 and respond to Australia’s and the Netherlands’ legitimate requests.”

2017

December 19, 2017
State Department Spokesperson Heather Nauert on the humanitarian situation and the spiraling violence in eastern Ukraine (State Dept press briefing) “In addition to that, I want to draw your attention to something that we addressed last week, but unfortunately, the situation has not improved in Ukraine. I want to draw your attention to the dire humanitarian situation and the spiraling violence in eastern Ukraine. Last night, Russian-led forces shelled the town of Novoluhanske with Grad rockets, wounding eight civilians and damaging dozens of homes, a school, and also a playground. Fighting also resumed today around the Donetsk filtration station and its system of pipes carrying poisonous chlorine gas. This is considered extremely dangerous. If those were to go off in this area, which is close to where people live, it could be potentially devastating. ”

December 04, 2017
The Fight Against Corruption in Ukraine (State.gov)    Spokesperson Nauert: “Reflecting the choice of the people of Ukraine, the U.S. calls on all branches of Ukraine’s government to work together cooperatively to eliminate corruption from public life.”

July 07, 2017
Secretary Tillerson appoints Ambassador Kurt Volker as the U.S. Special Representative for Ukraine Negotiations   Ambassador Volker, who has served previously as the U.S. Permanent Representative to NATO, Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for European and Eurasian Affairs, and as Director for NATO and Western Europe on the National Security Council, will take responsibility for advancing U.S. efforts to achieve the objectives set out in the Minsk agreements. He will accompany the Secretary to Kyiv on Sunday, July 9, and is expected to continue to hold regular meetings with Ukraine and the other members of the Normandy Format: Russia, Germany, and France.

2016

01 August 2016 U.S., EU help Ukraine investigate journalist’s murder    The U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation will help Ukrainian authorities investigate the murder of prominent journalist Pavel Sheremet, State Department spokesman John Kirby said. In 2004, Pavel Sheremet was beaten in Belarus, where he founded an opposition news website.. Sheremet was killed on July 20 when the car he was driving was destroyed by a bomb in downtown Kyiv, Ukraine. Kirby said the U.S. supports the government of Ukraine as it conducts a full and impartial investigation into the murder.
“Mr. Sheremet’s killing must not be tolerated in a free and democratic society,” Kirby said.
The European Union’s law enforcement agency Europol is also expected to join the investigation.

14 June 2016 Ukraine focuses on energy diversification Last winter, for the first time in its history, Ukraine got more natural gas from Europe than from Russia.   Until Ukraine’s Revolution of Dignity in 2013–2014, Russia supplied at least half the natural gas consumed by Ukrainians. High subsidies, artificially low prices and murky contracts with Gazprom (Russia’s state-owned energy company) distorted the market, hindered domestic production and allowed corruption to run rampant, according to Olga Bielkova, a deputy head of the Ukrainian parliament’s energy committee.  She and her colleagues have worked to eliminate political influence over gas producers and traders. At the same time, they are working to increase domestic gas production and diversify the country’s energy sources.

26 May 2016 Kerry on Return of Nadiya Savchenko to Ukraine

“I welcome today’s news that Nadiya Savchenko has returned to Ukraine and the Government of Ukraine’s humanitarian decision to release two Russian service members captured on Ukrainian soil and convicted of terrorism-related charges.

Nearly two years ago, Nadiya Savchenko was captured in combat in eastern Ukraine and forcibly taken against her will into Russia. Her release, after a long ordeal that included solitary confinement, is an important part of fulfilling Russia’s commitments under the Minsk agreements and should now provide impetus for their complete implementation.”

Fighting corruption in Ukraine
Fighting corruption in Ukraine

26 May 2016 Statement by Ambassador Samantha Power, U.S. Permanent Representative to the UN, on the Release of Nadiya Savchenko (via U.S. Embassy Kyiv)

During the 708 days since her abduction in eastern Ukraine, Nadiya Savchenko has endured inhumane imprisonment, countless interrogations, solitary confinement, the deterioration of her health, and farcical Russian legal proceedings. Today, Savchenko’s nightmare has finally ended.
….
The United States will continue to press Russia for complete implementation of its commitments under the Minsk agreements, which include the return of all unlawfully detained people, as well as Russia’s withdrawal of its forces from Ukrainian territory; and for Russia to end its occupation of Crimea.

26 May 2016 Analyst: Savchenko Release Shows Russia Wants Negotiations (VOA News)  Russia’s release of Ukrainian pilot Nadiya Savchenko, exchanged for two Russian servicemen, was welcomed by rights groups and supporters. They maintain her nearly two-year detention, trial, and 22-year sentence on charges of complicity in the deaths of two Russian journalists in east Ukraine was a political show. … “I regard the swap as Moscow’s step in order to minimize its own negative image and show the West its readiness to discuss a broader compromise, taking into account the interests of Russia,” said Alexander Gushchin, head of the Center of Ukrainian Studies at the Russian State University for Humanities.

18 May 2016 Ukraine steps up its fight against financial crimes Ukraine loses more than $11 billion every year in illicit financial outflows. These outflows stem from tax evasion, crime, corruption and other illegal activities. That’s a lot money, and it’s why Yuriy Kardashevkiy and Artem Nikitin work with others across Ukraine’s government to stop this drain on the country’s resources.
Kardashevkiy works in Ukraine’s National Anti-Corruption Bureau (NABU), where he heads a team of detectives who collect data that may help identify corruption among government officials. They pay particular attention to signs an official is receiving excessive benefits or enriching him or herself illegally. Launched in October 2014, NABU is working to bring Ukraine’s economy out of the shadows.

09 May 2016 What are Russia and the separatists hiding?   Some 3 million civilians have suffered as a result of Russia’s aggression in eastern Ukraine, according to U.S. Permanent Representative to the United Nations Samantha Power.
Despite the dire humanitarian situation in separatist-controlled territories, Russia and the separatists expelled international aid organizations in July, and they continue to deny access to organizations seeking to deliver much-needed food and medicine. Russia sends what it calls “humanitarian convoys” to eastern Ukraine, but it bars Ukrainian and international monitors from inspecting the trucks.
“If your convoys are filled with food and medicine, why prevent international inspectors from looking inside of them?” Power asked on April 28 when reporting to the U.N. Security Council.     

25 April 2016 State Dept on the 30th Anniversary of the Chornobyl Disaster    On this 30th anniversary of the Chornobyl disaster, our thoughts remain with the victims, from the emergency workers who gave their lives to prevent an even greater disaster, to those living in the area affected by the fallout.  The United States marks this anniversary with a pledge of an additional $10 million dollars to help ensure the safety of future generations who live in the affected area. This pledge comes on top of the more than $400 million the U.S. has already committed to the international effort to help Ukraine restore the site of the accident to an environmentally safe and secure condition.

15 March 2016 State’s Nuland on Ukrainian Reforms Two Years After the Maidan Revolution and the Russian Invasion (Statement Before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee)   “We have stood by Ukraine for more than two years as Russia has sought to stymie its democratic rebirth at every turn – with political pressure, economic pressure, and with unprecedented military aggression and violation of international law. Any set of leaders would be challenged to lead their country in this environment. Today, however, Ukraine’s European future is put at risk as much by enemies within as by external forces. The oligarchs and kleptocrats who controlled Ukraine for decades know their business model will be broken if Maidan reformers succeed in 2016. They are fighting back with a vengeance, using all the levers of the old system: their control of the media, state owned enterprises, Rada deputies, the courts and the political machinery, while holding old loyalties and threats over the heads of decision-makers to block change.”

15 March 2016  State’s Kirby on Second Anniversary of Russia’s Attempted Annexation of Crimea  Today, as Russia’s occupation of Crimea enters its third year, we reaffirm our commitment to a united, sovereign Ukraine. The United States does not recognize Russia’s “referendum” of March 16, 2014 or its attempted annexation of Crimea, which violates international law.

We will not accept the redrawing of borders by force in the 21st century. Sanctions related to Crimea will remain in place as long as the occupation continues. We again call on Russia to end that occupation and return Crimea to Ukraine.

07 March 2016 Continued Detention of Nadiya Savchenko   In the 20 months since [Ukrainian pilot and Rada Deputy Nadiya Savchenko,] was captured in eastern Ukraine and taken to Russia, Ms. Savchenko has reportedly endured interrogations, solitary confinement, and forced “psychiatric evaluation.” Her trial and continuing imprisonment demonstrate disregard for international standards, as well as for Russia’s commitments under the Minsk agreements.
The United States once again calls on Russia to immediately release Ms. Savchenko and return her to Ukraine.

2015

28 May 2015 Russia’s Military Preparations Raise Concerns in Europe, Ukraine   Russia this week held surprise, massive military exercises as members of NATO, the western military alliance, took part in its own drills. Military analysts say the military muscle-flexing increases the chances for incidents that could spark a wider conflict.

27 May 2015 United States Announces $18 Million in Additional Humanitarian Assistance for Ukraine Crisis  Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Population, Refugees, and Migration Simon Henshaw announced May 23 in Kyiv that the United States is providing $18 million in additional U.S. humanitarian assistance to help those affected by Russian aggression in eastern Ukraine and Crimea.

31 March 2015 A Country’s Borders Can’t Be Changed By Force (ShareAmerica)    Russia’s actions in Ukraine violate international principles, and the international community must sustain pressure on Russia, said U.S. Deputy Secretary of State Antony Blinken.

16 March 2015 Biden’s Call with Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko (via IIP digital) Vice President Joe Biden spoke today with Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko to discuss the implementation of the Minsk agreements of September 2014 and February 2015.

10 March 2015 Russian Aggression Threatens European Security, DoD Officials Say  Russia is actively supporting violence in Ukraine, sending weapons and equipment to separatist forces and violating the “immediate and comprehensive cease-fire” called for in the Minsk agreement, officials told Congress today.

10 March 2015 State’s Nuland Testimony on Ukraine Before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee (state.gov)  “Today Ukraine is central to our 25 year Transatlantic quest for a “Europe whole, free and at peace.” My interagency colleagues and I are pleased to update you today on U.S. efforts to support Ukraine as it works to liberate the country from its corrupt, oligarchic past, chart a more democratic, European future, and bring an end to Russian-fueled violence”.

05 March 2015 Amb. Baer’s Reply at OSCE on Russian Actions in Ukraine  (via IIPDigital)

02 MArch 2015 State Dept. Briefing on the Situation in Ukraine

2014

18 December 2014 Statement by the President on the Ukraine Freedom Support Act   “Today, I have signed H.R. 5859, the Ukraine Freedom Support Act of 2014, into law. Signing this legislation does not signal a change in the Administration’s sanctions policy, which we have carefully calibrated in accordance with developments on the ground and coordinated with our allies and partners.”