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UABA Feature Articles

  • 08 Jan 2017 1:42 PM | Myroslaw Smorodsky (Administrator)


    The Senator will question Secretary of State Nominee Rex Tillerson during confirmation hearings 

    On January 6, 2017, UABA representatives Victor Rud [Chairman of the UABA Foreign Relations Committee] and Myroslaw Smorodsky [UABA Communications Director] met with Sen. Robert Menendez together with other members of the Ukrainian American community. [Ronya Lozynskyj &Tamara Olexy - UCCA, and Yuriy Symczyk - UNA]. Senator Menendez (D-NJ) is the senior member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. 

    The purpose of the meeting was to discuss the Ukrainian American community’s deep concerns regarding the nomination of Rex Tillerson to be the next Secretary of State and the potentially damaging impact his confirmation can have on Ukraine’s struggle to maintain its territorial integrity and independence. The Ukrainian American Bar Association respectfully submitted to the Senator proposed areas of questioning during the confirmation process of Rex Tillerson with background briefing material for the Senator’s consideration and review in preparation for the hearings before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. 

    The briefing documents submitted by the UABA emphasized that The UN Charter, the Helsinki Final Act [i.e. the charter document of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe] and the various organic documents of the European Union, have had as their linchpin the principle of territorial integrity and security and the inviolability of borders of independent states - maintained peace and stability on the Eurasian continent for over 70 years Moreover, twenty-two years ago, under pressure from the United States, Ukraine agreed to surrender and destroy its nuclear arsenal.  All that Ukraine asked in return was to be given security assurances as to its sovereignty and territorial integrity by the United States, Russia and the United Kingdom upon its accession to the Non-Proliferation Treaty as a non-nuclear weapon state.  These security assurances were given on December 5, 1994 and are commonly known as the Budapest Memorandum.  Based on the assurances from all the signatories and with specific reliance on these declarations by each of the signatory states, Ukraine surrendered approximately 1600 nuclear warheads.  Russia’s annexation of Crimea and its military invasion into Eastern Ukraine constitute overt and blatant violations of these basic agreements and evidence the Kremlin’s intentional defiance of international rule of law.

    Senator Menendez recognizes that if the United States fails to take any additional more meaningful and effective action in response to Russia’s annexation of Crimea and its military invasion into Eastern Ukraine in violation of international rule of law, it would corrode and undermine America’s credibility in the international arena, destabilize Europe, and greatly fuel Russian international adventurism and expansionism. After the meeting, Senator Menendez held a media press conference.
    Read Senator R. Menendez's Statement

    View Video of Senator R. Menendez’s Press Conference Part 1

    View Video of Senator R. Menendez’s Press Conference Part 2

  • 18 Dec 2016 10:38 AM | Myroslaw Smorodsky (Administrator)

    Ukrainian Reality and How It Affects Other Countries
    Duke Law School 

    click here to view video

    A discussion of the situation in Ukraine (as of February, 2015) in its legal dimensions, including Ukraine's quest for democracy and rule of law as well as the legal consequences of the Crimean Peninsula's annexation. The emphasis is on the probable outcomes and impacts these events will have on Ukraine as well as other international players. The panelists are: Honorable Bohdan Futey was the U.S. Court of Federal Claims judge in 1987-2014, Victor Rud '76 is an international law attorney and a cofounder of the Ukrainian American Bar Association, Ivanna Bilych is an attorney, civil activist, and board member of Razom for Ukraine (Together for Ukraine). Sponsored by the International Law Society, National Security Law Society and Duke Bar Association.

  • 21 Nov 2016 10:44 PM | Myroslaw Smorodsky (Administrator)

    Holodomor Remembrance Day: Why the Past Matters for the Future

    as published by the Atlantic Council

    As Americans sit down to their Thanksgiving meals on the last Thursday in November, Ukrainians will be commemorating the memory of millions who were murdered in 1932-33. The last Saturday in November is Holodomor Remembrance Day in Ukraine, a time to mark the anniversary of Joseph Stalin’s engineered starvation of the nation. In the West, the date should also be remembered as a pivotal event that ensured the viability of the Soviet Union, with its consequent implications for hundreds of millions in the free world.

    The Holodomor in Ukraine is too often mistakenly grouped together in the West with the generic Soviet collectivization of agriculture. While collectivization was extant throughout the Soviet Union, it was distinct in purpose and result in Ukraine. There, wrote Proletarska Pravda in 1930, collectivization was intended “to destroy the social basis of Ukrainian nationalism.” Indeed, though collectivization in Ukraine was virtually complete by the spring of 1932, Moscow pressed on. Having eliminated Ukraine’s political, cultural, and religious strata, Stalin turned against the villages. It was there that Ukrainian traditions and self-awareness were rooted, and where the overwhelming majority of the population resided. The task, wrote historian Norman Davies, was to forever inter any notion of independence. The countryside was stripped not simply of grain but of anything remotely edible. Cooking utensils and farming tools were confiscated. The borders were sealed, and no food was allowed in. No one was allowed out. And not just in Ukraine, but also in the heavily Ukrainian ethnographic regions absorbed by neighboring Russia. Entire villages simply disappeared. A year later, one of Stalin’s sycophants, Pavel Postyshev boasted: “We have annihilated the nationalist counter-revolution during the past year, we have exposed and destroyed nationalist deviationism.”

    Estimates of the number of victims range from four to ten million. Italian diplomatic dispatches at the time concluded: “The current disaster will bring about a predominantly Russian colonization of Ukraine.” In 1953, Raphael Lemkin, author of the UN Genocide Convention, passionately condemned not just the murder of millions but also the evisceration of Ukraine’s national ethos. “This is not simply a case of mass murder. It is a case of genocide, of destruction, not of individuals only, but of a culture and a nation.” But it was not until the eve of their independence in 1991 that Ukrainians even dared to whisper about the Holodomor among themselves.

    Some news about the Holodomor was carried in the Western press. Paris’s Le Matin wrote, “The systematically organized famine has as its objective the destruction of a nation, whose only crime is that it is striving for freedom.” Mainly, however, the news was spiked by Western media. The New York Times’ Moscow correspondent Walter Duranty, a Pulitzer Prize winner, categorically denied the horror. Washington knew the dirty secret: Duranty had earlier admitted to US Embassy personnel in Berlin that “in agreement with the New York Times and the Soviet authorities, his official dispatches always reflect the official opinion of the Soviet government and not his own.” Privately, however, to the British Embassy in Moscow Duranty confessed a “ghastly horror,” and that Ukraine “has been bled white.”

    Western governments had their own calculus. The British Foreign Office wrote: “We do not want to make [information about the Holodomor] public...because the Soviet Government would resent it and our relationship with them would be prejudiced. We cannot give this explanation in public.” After taking a Potemkin village tour of the starving Ukrainian countryside, former French Prime Minister Herriot returned to France and ridiculed the notion of any starvation.

    Western betrayal of Ukraine soon became official. On November 16, 1933, US President Franklin D. Roosevelt recognized the Soviet Union. Legitimacy, approval, and acceptance were stamped on a netherworld dedicated to the destruction of Roosevelt’s own country. American and Soviet celebrants dined on caviar and beef stroganoff at the Waldorf Astoria as Ukraine became one vast necropolis. One might say that at that moment, a great and noble nation bartered away its moral clarity.

    Twelve years later, outside the court windows in Nuremberg in post-war Europe, the United States and United Kingdom, overseen by the Soviet Union’s secret police, “repatriated” scores of Holodomor survivors and others back to that same netherworld. That was the second betrayal, inked in Yalta.

    Fast forward to 1991. Despite President George H.W. Bush’s efforts to discourage Ukraine from withdrawing from the Soviet Union, the nation voted for independence, catalyzing the dissolution of the USSR. Shortly after, however, Moscow became the beneficiary of a third deal: Ukraine surrendered its nuclear arsenal in return for US, UK, and Russian commitments to its national sovereignty and territorial integrity.

    In 2004, the Ukrainian community in the United States warned National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice of Russian President Vladimir Putin’s game plan: that there would be only one player. Washington remained somnolent, and in 2014, Russia invaded Ukraine, occupying and annexing its territory. With scarcely a whimper from the West, Putin savaged the world order overnight.

    This year as never before, Holodomor Remembrance Day requires more than the commemoration of innocents. It requires that, at long last, Washington take an accurate measure of the Kremlin. Even more so, it must reassess its own impulse toward deal making, something that long predates the election of the new US president-elect. That approach did not establish a laudable record. If Ukraine is not secured as a counterweight of freedom and stability, any "deal" will condemn the West to a dangerous past.

    Victor Rud is a board member of the Ukrainian American Bar Association and chairman of its Committee on Foreign Affairs.

  • 30 Sep 2016 10:55 AM | Myroslaw Smorodsky (Administrator)

    Danylo M. Kurdelchuk (1944 – 2016)





     It is with great sorrow that we announce the passing of
    our associate member, colleague, and friend.

     Danylo M. Kurdelchuk

    who departed this life in the morning hours of
    September 30, 2016 in Kyiv, Ukraine,
    after a long illness.

    The Ukrainian American Bar Association expresses its deepest condolences
    to his son, Ihor, to Danylo's entire family, to his colleagues at Ukriniurkolegia,
    and to all of his friends around the world.



    The Officers and Governors of the
     Ukrainian American Bar Association



  • 30 Aug 2016 4:10 PM | Myroslaw Smorodsky (Administrator)

    Боротьба з корупцією — як стіл з трьома ногами: без однієї він не встоїть. Інтерв’ю радника генпрокурора

    Click Here to View

    Bohdan Vitvitsky is a member of the UABA  

  • 30 Mar 2016 9:34 PM | Myroslaw Smorodsky (Administrator)


    YOU REAP WHAT YOU SOW – The 2016 Global Nuclear Security Summit

    This week, Washington hosts the 2016 Global Nuclear Security Summit with the hope of stopping the proliferation of nuclear weapons.  Russia – one of the largest nuclear powers – has decided to boycott this event. Not surprisingly, the United States has now accused Russia of “slowly but surely dismantling the security and arms control agreements that were put in place in Europe at the end of the cold war”

    What a surprise.

    Ironically, the Washington Nuclear Security Summit will be attended by Mr. Petro Poroshenko – The President of Ukraine.  If one would recall, Ukraine possessed the 3rd largest nuclear arsenal in the world. In 1994, it voluntarily surrendered its nuclear weaponry in return for guarantees of its territorial integrity, and economic and political security given by five major powers, the United States, Russia, the United Kingdom, France and China [the Budapest Memorandum].  Regrettably, recent history has now shown that such security “guarantees” are not worth the paper that they are written on. Assuredly, all the participants of the Washington Nuclear Security Summit are keenly aware of this fact and this stark realization will have a sobering effect on any diplomatic solutions that the attendees may propose.

    Within the immediate past, Russia has acted in total defiance of its international commitments which were the keystone for peace and security on the European continent since World War II. Russia has now invaded Ukraine, illegally annexing its territory, is fomenting violence in Eastern Ukraine with its own armed forces including mercenaries, and is trying to economically and politically destabilize Ukraine. So what is the response from the other “guarantors” of Ukraine’s security under the Budapest Memorandum? -- tepid economic sanctions from the EU and the US allegedly aimed at cajoling Russia to be contrite and comply with its obligations under international law. Clearly, this myopic approach is the product of a naïveté not grounded in a clear understanding of the reality of Moscow’s worldview and political mindset.  From Europe, to the Middle East, to the Pacific Rim, Russia is now increasingly flexing its military muscle despite the anemic economic sanctions imposed by the US and the West.  More disconcerting is the reawakening in the United States of a flawed isolationist foreign policy that, if implemented, would in and of itself remake the geopolitical landscape of Europe beyond the wildest hopes, dreams, and expectations of Vladimir Putin.

    To paraphrase a biblical saying – you reap what you sow [Galatians 6:7-9].  America’s and the West’s abysmal failure to fulfill their security commitments to Ukraine have sowed a revanchist Russia that, unless it is quickly challenged in a more meaningful and firm manner, it will be the unwelcome reaped harvest that will transform the entire geopolitical landscape of Europe and the world and, most certainly, will be a very direct and destructive threat to the security of the United States itself. 

    For further information, please contact

    Myroslaw Smorodsky, Esq.

    Communications Director of the Ukrainian American Bar Association (UABA)

    Tel: 201-507-4500201-507-4500 ; Email; myroslaw@smorodsky.com

  • 08 Mar 2016 11:41 AM | Myroslaw Smorodsky (Administrator)

    2016 UABA Survey Results

    Earlier this year, the UABA conducted a member survey to obtain feedback about the UABA and its activities in order to help make the UABA even more responsive to its members.  A short (5 minute) survey was emailed to all UABA members regarding their experiences with the UABA and suggestions for improvement.  The survey also requested member input regarding past conventions to help plan the UABA 2016 annual convention, both in terms of its location and suggested topics. The results of this survey can be reviewed at the following link. 

     2016 UABA Survey Results  

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