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This UABA Blog page provides information and commentary on issues that are relevant to the organization and its members. Although the blogs are public, comments can only be made by members. If yoiu wish to join the discussion, you are welcome to become a member.

The comments expressed on these blogs represent the opinions of the authors and not that of the UABA.

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  • 26 Oct 2014 8:55 PM | Liudmyla Mozgova (Administrator)

     Multibillionaire investor George Soros has issued a warning to Europe's democracies over the threat that a resurgent Russia poses to the continent. In an essay published Thursday in the New York Review of Books, Soros calls for more economic and military support for Ukraine, as well as the abandonment of the eurozone's current austerity programs.   BI.   Read More

  • 26 Oct 2014 8:52 PM | Liudmyla Mozgova (Administrator)

     Ukraine has complained to the World Trade Organization (WTO) about a decision by Russia to ban imports of fruit and vegetables from the country, the agriculture ministry said on Thursday. The ban, which came in force on Oct. 22, was the latest trade barrier erected by Russia in a trade and sanctions war linked to international tensions over Ukraine.   Yahoo News.   Read More


  • 26 Oct 2014 8:49 PM | Liudmyla Mozgova (Administrator)

     Imagine trying to hold an election at the most critical juncture in your country's modern history -- a vote that is vital for your nation's security and place in the world. Imagine trying to hold the election amid threats from within and without, a teetering economy, an atmosphere of tense uncertainty, and under the watchful eye of the world. Now imagine trying to do it cleanly. Twice. Imagine Ukraine.   RFE/RL.   Read More


  • 26 Oct 2014 8:47 PM | Liudmyla Mozgova (Administrator)

     The sight of public officials being thrown into trash cans all over Ukraine has become the visible expression of popular anger with corrupt bureaucrats, with lustration becoming a key demand by civil society. Supporters of the lustration law, signed by President Petro Poroshenko on Oct. 9, say that the cleansing of government is necessary to root out old corrupt practices and entrench Western values as part of Ukraine’s efforts to become a civilized European country.   Kyiv Post.   Read More


  • 26 Oct 2014 8:25 PM | Myroslaw Smorodsky (Administrator)

    Weapons for Ukraine, Now
    by Former United States Senator Gordon Humphrey

    A new Hitler has arisen in Europe, and Ukraine is his first victim.  Tragically,  the response of the Western powers is the same as in 1938: appeasement. Meanwhile, Vladimir Putin continues to bully and bleed a country whose only offense is to passionately desire freedom.


    Ukraine deserves and desperately needs our help.  In courageously fighting Putin’s invading forces, she has suffered a great many casualties and the loss of most of her heavy weapons. Yet, she struggles onward, bravely.  A month ago, President Poroshenko delivered a moving address to a Joint Session of Congress, pleading for replacement weapons.  President Obama refused and sent him home empty-handed and humiliated.


    End of story?  That depends on you and each of us who cares deeply about Ukraine, freedom and justice.  It also depends on the Ukrainian American organizations in Washington.  They must become much better organized, unified and coordinated.  Hold them accountable.  Ask each to tell you what it is doing.


    A President is not a dictator in foreign policy. He takes an oath to faithfully execute the laws, like them or not.  Because Congress makes those laws, it can change White House policy.  


    There are already forty-four United States Senators on record supporting defensive weapons for Ukraine.   As a former U.S. Senator, I assure you, that’s a very high starting number for a measure so profound, especially in opposition to the President.   No doubt it can be raised substantially higher.


    Senators cannot prevail against the White House when acting in small numbers.  They  need to form a Task Force on Ukraine, with a robust staff, to bring to bear the full strength of their numbers and the very great combined powers of their offices.  Their staffs need to work energetically every day discover and aggressively exploit opportunities to undermine and change White House policy.


    First, in committees and on the Floor Senators must convincingly refute White House arguments against providing weapons.  They must take  testimony from experts, such Leon Panetta, Obama’s CIA Director and Secretary of Defense until  2013.  Mr. Panetta recently called for going beyond economic sanctions to provide military aid.  Yet, seven months after Putin annexed Crimea, there hasn’t been a single Senate hearing on the two bills that would authorize such weapons, S.2277 and S.2828.  No hearings.  No witnesses.  No testimony.  No serious, organized, team effort to refute Mr. Obama’s  arguments.  The White House is winning the policy debate by default.


    Second, Senators must assertively advance legislation to  overturn Obama’s policy.  S.2828, the Menendez bill, would authorize weapons, including “including anti-tank and anti-armor weapons.”   Senator Robert Menendez,  the bill’s author and powerful Chair of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, stated the case in a recent NPR interview, “If a tank is coming at you and you’re firing with a peashooter, you’re not going to be able to stop that tank”.


    S.2828 awaits Floor action, which might or might not take place after the election.  The White House will try to prevent the bill from being debated.  When the Senate adjourns a few weeks later all bills not enacted die.  If the Senate Task Force on Ukraine was already in being today, its members and staff could be working even now, pressuring the leadership to bring the bill up before Congress adjourns and even rounding up support for offering the bill as an amendment to must-pass legislation.


    Even if enacted, S.2828 is not enough.  It only  says the President may provide weapons, it does not say he must.  The Senate and House must pass an appropriation bill that provides funding for S.2828.  The President will then be duty-bound to spend the funds as directed.


    Third, Senators need to play hard ball.  At present they’re not even in the game, because they haven’t organized a team.  They can’t win with only one or two players on the field at a time.   Nor can they win by being nice guys.  Working together in a Senate Task Force on Ukraine, Senators can both advance S.2828, and, when necessary, engage in serious parliamentary combat, blocking  legislation the White House wants as well as the confirmations of Presidential nominees.  These and similar tactics are used frequently in Congress.


    There is a precedent.  In the 1980s, Democrat and Republican Senators formed a Task Force on Afghanistan, to overturn a White House ban on supplying weapons to those fighting the Soviet army in that country.  The chair of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee at that time, Senator Claiborne Pell, was one of its active members, as was one of the Senate’s most senior current members, Senator Orrin Hatch.

    Ultimately, Congress forced the Administration to provide greater levels of humanitarian assistance and, most importantly, lethal defensive weapons, including Stinger anti-aircraft weapons, that changed the war and persuaded the Soviets to withdraw.   This very important lesson should not be lost.


    In summary, Congress can change White House policy.    But it can only do so when Senators are willing to use fully the great powers conferred on them by the Constitution.  To sufficiently marshal those powers and to coordinate the efforts of many offices, the Senate needs to create a Task Force on  Ukraine. 


    This noble cause needs a leader.  One Senator among forty-four now supporting weapons for Ukraine should stand up, take charge and form the task force.  Many others from the forty-four would surely join in with commensurate staff.


    Where is the Winston Churchill, who will lead the fight  in the Senate against the dangerous White House policy of appeasement.  We must help Ukraine.  Her battle is our battle.

    Gordon Humphrey represented New Hampshire in the United States Senate in the 1980s and was Senate chair of the Congressional Task Force on Afghanistan.  You can email him at gjhumphrey@comcast.net


  • 23 Oct 2014 6:20 PM | Liudmyla Mozgova (Administrator)

    At the meeting of the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine on October 22 the draft Law of Ukraine “On a moratorium on the construction of facilities in the protected (buffer) zones and areas adjacent to World Heritage sites, the historical parts of towns included in the List of historical settlements of Ukraine” was approved, as reported by Rrostir.museum.   RISU.   Read More

  • 23 Oct 2014 6:19 PM | Liudmyla Mozgova (Administrator)

    The career of one of Poland's most high profile politicians is under threat following a storm of controversy over his claims that Vladimir Putin wanted Russia and Poland carve up Ukraine. Radek Sikorski, speaker of the Polish parliament and onetime foreign minister, is facing calls for his dismissal over his allegations concerning Mr Putin. Mr Sikorski's handling of the subsequent controversy has also led to criticism.   The Telegraph.   Read More

  • 23 Oct 2014 6:16 PM | Liudmyla Mozgova (Administrator)

    Ukraine government bond investors are preparing for next week’s parliamentary elections, which polls show will consolidate power with PresidentPetro Poroshenko, by sending yields to record highs. Poroshenko’s party is leading opinion polls before the Oct. 26 vote with pledges to end an almost seven-month insurgency in eastern Ukraine, revamp the Soviet-era economy and boost ties with the European Union.    Bloomberg.   Read More

  • 23 Oct 2014 6:15 PM | Liudmyla Mozgova (Administrator)

    Ukraine’s national energy company Naftogaz Ukrayiny appealed to the arbitration court in Stockholm seeking to change its contract with Gazprom of Russia on transit of natural gas to Europe, the company reported Tuesday. Naftogaz argued the 2009 gas transit contract is in breach of its commitment to the Energy Community that the country has joined in 2010 and must be completely compliant before the start of 2015.   Ukrainian Journal.  Read More

  • 23 Oct 2014 6:12 PM | Liudmyla Mozgova (Administrator)

    Head of Luhansk Regional State Administration Hennadiy Moskal has compiled a list of 154 towns and villages in the region to which he proposes granting a special local government status, the governor's press service has reported. "The administrative units stated on the list are on the Ukrainian-controlled territory, but it is impossible to convene meetings of district, town or village councils, as there are no mayors, village heads, and others.    Ukrinform.   Read More

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