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  • 14 Sep 2014 10:16 PM | Myroslaw Smorodsky (Administrator)

    Click here to view in PDF format  --- Натисніть тут для перегляду  у форматі PDF

     Press Release:  September 14, 2014

     Is Ukraine "Waiting for Godot"?

    On September 18, 2014, the President of Ukraine, Petro Poroshenko, will address a joint session of the United States Congress. No doubt he will strongly applaud the latest round of sanctions that were imposed on Russia by the United States and the European Union on September 12, 2014 in response to Russia's ongoing invasion of Ukraine.  But he will also likely repeat his prior requests for immediate military aid from the United States and its Western partners so that Ukraine can defend itself from further Russian aggression.  It will not be a request for "boots on the ground" but for military weapons and supplies for Ukraine's armed forces.  The US and the West have made it crystal clear that their military participation in Ukraine's defense is not an option despite the fact that in 1994, Ukraine voluntarily surrendered its entire nuclear arsenal – the 3rd largest in the world – in return for guarantees in the Budapest Memorandum [pledged by Russia, the US and the UK] of Ukraine's economic and political sovereignty and the integrity of its borders.  

    Most of the civilized countries of the world have condemned the Russian invasion of Ukraine as an affront to international rule of law and as a violation of the numerous international treaties and agreements that require civilized countries to respect the sovereignty and territorial integrity of states.  These linchpin agreements - such as the UN Charter and the Helsinki Accords - maintained peace and stability on the Eurasian continent for over 70 years. Regrettably, it is now patently obvious that Russia's actions clearly evidence that it will not abide by any promises that it has made or will make in any future treaty or other international agreement. 

    Numerous concerned voices in the American political, academic and mass media arena have urgently called for America and the EU to give immediate military aid to Ukraine.  All of these voices recognize that despite the increased economic sanctions, the Kremlin obstinately continues its military buildup within Ukraine and continues to violate the cease-fire agreement reached in Minsk earlier this month.  It now arrogantly and openly continues its military actions against defensive Ukrainian forces inside the Donetsk and Luhansk regions of Ukraine, in spite of the stronger economic sanctions imposed on September 12 by the US and EU.  Currently, additional convoys of "humanitarian" trucks openly unload lethal weapons inside Ukrainian territory and Russian military forces in and outside of Ukrainian borders are bombarding Ukrainian defensive military positions within Ukraine.  So much for Russia and its surrogate pro-Russian terrorists abiding by a cease-fire agreement!  Putin has doubled down on his bellicose pronouncements and has vehemently restated his resolve to return Russia to the previous borders of the former USSR and even to expand the Kremlin's hegemony over the eastern parts of the European Union.  He has now publicly declared the United States, NATO, and the European Union to be enemies of Russia and announced an escalated buildup of his military arsenal.  Putin has also made not so veiled threats of using his nuclear military capabilities in his quest.  Needless to say, the conquest of Ukraine is the Kremlin's first necessary step in achieving its imperialistic goals. 

    The United States [together with the UK], as a signatory to the Budapest Memorandum, has a joint and several obligation to Ukraine to protect Ukraine's territorial integrity and sovereignty.  Had Ukraine not willingly relinquished its nuclear weapons in 1994, the present balance of power between Ukraine and Russia would have been substantially different and would have most likely deterred Russia's illegal invasion and "annexation" of Crimea and the blatant invasion of Eastern Ukraine .  Since Ukraine kept its part of the bargain under the Budapest Memorandum, it is now time for the United States to make good on its word to guarantee Ukraine's sovereignty and territorial integrity.

    It is obvious that the present economic sanctions in and of themselves are woefully deficient and will not stop Russia's unlawful aggression against Ukraine.  Had Ukraine received American and Western military aid earlier in a timely fashion, Ukraine would have been in a better military posture to repel the pro-Russian terrorists and seal its border from further Russian incursion.  Prior to September 5, 2014, Ukrainian military forces were in a strategic position to defeat the pro-Russian terrorists in Ukraine. On that day, NATO leaders were debating what sanctions to impose upon Russia.  In response to the verbal threats of NATO leaders - which the Kremlin perceived as a shallow non-consequential scolding - that same day Moscow ordered its troops into Ukraine with superior weaponry and fire power to substantially push back the Ukrainian military from its gains painfully attained with the life and blood of many a brave Ukrainian soldier.

    The question is: will Ukraine need to wait endlessly and hopelessly for American and EU military aid to arrive in the same exhausting and fruitless manner as the two characters in Samuel Beckett's absurdist play "Waiting for Godot" who wait incessantly in fervent hope for a person named Godot to appear but who never arrives?

    The United States Congress has before it two bills: H.R. 5241 "Crimea Annexation Non-recognition Act" which prohibits the United States to recognize the de jureor de factoannexation of Crimea by the Russian Federation. H.R.5190, the Ukraine Security Assistance Act of 2014,provides military assistance to Ukraine and to designate Ukraine as a Major non-NATO Ally (MNNA).  The Ukrainian American Bar Association strongly urges the United States Congress to expeditiously pass - on a fast-track basis - this legislation so as to signal to the world that the United States abides by its word in international agreements that it signs and will help Ukraine defend its territorial integrity and sovereignty as the quid pro quofor surrendering its nuclear arsenal.  Failure to do so in a timely and expeditious manner  will only reaffirm Vladimir Putin's strongly held belief that the United States is only a paper tiger – all words and no teeth. 

    If the United States does not keep its word regarding sovereignty and security guarantees relating to nuclear non-proliferation agreements, why should any other country such as Iran, Pakistan, India, Israel or North Korea have any faith in America's representations or promises in future nuclear disarmament negotiations and accords.  Any tardiness or inaction by the United States Congress in rendering timely military aid to Ukraine will also condemn Ukraine to an endless and hopeless waiting for American assistance  -- as the characters in "Waiting for Godot"--  only to have its sovereign territory painfully eroded  by Russian aggression, with extensive casualties to its population, with millions of people displaced, and many a young Ukrainian soldier killed by a stronger and brutal aggressor nation whose only goal is imperial territorial expansion.  If Ukraine falls, then the horrific conflagration of war will spill over into the eastern part of the European Union and will necessitate American "boots on the ground".  All this may be avoided if the United States Congress acts now and fulfills its obligation and duty to give timely military assistance to Ukraine.

    For further information, please contact
    Myroslaw Smorodsky, Esq.
    Communications Director of the Ukrainian American Bar Association (UABA)
    Tel: 201-507-4500; Email;
    myroslaw@smorodsky.com; Website; www.smorodsky.com



  • 31 Aug 2014 6:19 PM | Myroslaw Smorodsky (Administrator)

    Click here to view in PDF format  --- Натисніть тут для перегляду  у форматі PDF

    PRESS RELEASE  August 31, 2014

    The 2014 Russian War against Ukraine

    In the past few weeks, what was painfully obvious from the very beginning to Ukrainians [that the terrorist conflict in Eastern Ukraine was artificially manufactured, clandestinely funded, militarily supplied with weapons and fighting personnel, and secretly orchestrated by the Kremlin] is now grudgingly acknowledged by the rest of the world.  Russia has now openly invaded Ukraine and only Putin's generously paid Western apologists or the extremely naïve could argue otherwise.  The Russian government's continuing boldfaced lies that the alleged Donbas "separatists" are self-reliant disgruntled Ukrainians who are Russian speakers seeking only to protect their rights can no longer be credulously accepted by the West.  This ruse has run its course.  Russia is and has for months been in a state of war against Ukraine -- its sole objective is to eradicate Ukraine's independence, and return it to a vassal state under the dictatorship of Moscow thus giving a rebirth to a new USSR-like empire. 

    Since the cataclysmic events of World War II, the world's nations have attempted to establish basic principles of international law and behavior to be adhered to by the governments of all nations so as to prevent future conflagrations on a global scale.  The UN Charter, the Helsinki Final Act [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.  NATO was created in part to protect the territorial integrity of its member states from outside military threats.  Since 1994, when it entered NATO's Partnership for Peace Program, Ukraine has participated in NATO outreach programs and took part in NATO-led missions around the world and alongside American troops in such places as Iraq and Afghanistan.  It was this principle - territorial integrity and sovereignty of independent states - that was solemnly invoked - jointly and severally - by the United Kingdom, the Russian Federation and the United States in the Budapest Memorandum of 1994 which fervently pledged assurances by these countries of the inviolability of Ukrainian borders, on which assurances Ukraine relied and voluntarily relinquished 1600 nuclear warheads - the then third largest nuclear arsenal on the globe. 

    It is now self evident that the Kremlin has not and will not adhere to any of its internationally made pledges regarding the territorial integrity and sovereignty of states thus undermining the bedrock upon which European peace is built in the aftermath of World War II.  Rather, Russia has intentionally trampled upon Ukraine's political and economic sovereignty and its territorial integrity for quite some time in full view of the world.  Regrettably, the response from the United States and the European Union has been a blinders-like muted scolding of Putin with tempered economic sanctions but specifically excluding any military assistance to Ukraine.  This piecemeal approach has only emboldened Putin and has given him a strategic time-advantage to fully implement his invasion of Ukraine, which in turn, will directly affect the economic and political stability of the member states of the EU.  In recent days, and to the world's astonishment, Putin has brandished not so veiled bellicose threats emphasizing the nuclear armament power that he has at his disposal. Clearly, it is in the long range self-interest of the West to take meaningful steps to stop and reverse Russia's aggression against Ukraine and thus protect its own political and territorial integrity from future jeopardy.

    Towards this end, the United States and the United Kingdom have a particular responsibility under the Budapest Memorandum.  There are those apologists that argue that the Budapest Memorandum is not a "treaty" [even though it was part of Ukraine's accession to the Non-Proliferation Treaty] and, according to their flawed logic, its breach is not enforceable nor has any consequential obligations for its other signatories.  However, The Budapest Memorandum is clearly a contractual agreement under which three countries [Russia, the US and UK] together obtained a valuable and tangible concession from Ukraine for their joint benefit - i.e. the relinquishment of 1600 nuclear warheads - in consideration for which these three countries [Russia, the US and UK] together gave their joint assurances for the territorial integrity and economic independence of Ukraine.  As such, since one of the beneficiaries of the Budapest Memorandum [Russia] egregiously breached its promise to respect Ukraine's territorial integrity, it is the obligation of the other two beneficiary signatories of the Budapest Memorandum [the US and UK] to make certain that Ukrainian territorial integrity is fully restored.  Failure to do so will undoubtedly completely undercut any future negotiations with other nuclear powers in the hope of achieving nuclear disarmament and world peace.

    The time has now come for the West to take strong and meaningful action in support of Ukraine's independence and territorial integrity.  The West must stop moving the goal line in order to placate Putin in the unlikely Pollyanna-like expectation that he will take an "off-ramp" and deescalate the situation in Ukraine.  The hard and uncontroverted evidence proves exactly the contrary - Putin only interprets such peace intended initiatives as a sign of weakness.  He only respects decisiveness and power.  Therefore, the West must face him with resolve and strength.

    It is crystal clear that neither the United States nor the EU will put boots on the ground in Ukraine.  However, as Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko has expressed to world leaders, - Ukrainians have the resolve and will to defend their homeland – what Ukrainians need are military supplies and weaponry to aid them in their battle for national survival. Therefore, we strongly urge that the following steps be implemented immediately by the United States government, NATO, and its European allies.

    ·        Military assistance in the form of lethal weapons and nonlethal military supplies, as well as advisors and related intelligence and equipment.

    ·        The imposition of full sector sanctions, especially in the banking and fossil fuel industries, and the bank accounts of Russian governmental business entities frozen.

    ·        Ukraine's accession to non-NATO ally status by the United States should be expeditiously granted.

    ·        Increased humanitarian medical and other assistance by the international community for persons injured in the war and for the displaced persons from Eastern Ukraine and Crimea should be accelerated.

    ·        All sales of military or dual use equipment should be immediately stopped - especially by France which is planning in the near future to transfer two Mistral type helicopter attack carriers to Russia.

    ·        Additional monetary funding for the Ukrainian government in the form of guaranteed loans should be provided to help Ukraine weather the economic crisis caused by the Russian invasion.

    The United States and Europe are at a historically crucial crossroad.  America must take strong and decisive action and reaffirm its world leadership position now!  If Western governments continue on the existing path of placating Putin and "doing business as usual", then they will condemn our children and grandchildren to a probable conflagration on the European continent that will be as great or even greater than the horrors of World War II [recall Putin's recent verbal flexing of his nuclear muscle] .....and from which America will have no escape.

    For further information, please contact

    Myroslaw Smorodsky, Esq.

    Communications Director of the Ukrainian American Bar Association (UABA)

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


  • 24 Jul 2014 1:32 PM | Myroslaw Smorodsky (Administrator)

    Read in PDF Format

    Press Release: July 24, 2014


    As days go by, the absolute shock and horror of the shoot-down of Malaysian Flight 17 sinks agonizingly deeper and deeper into the collective consciousness of the international community. 298 innocent lives were needlessly lost - at last count, 189 Dutch, 44 Malaysian, 27 Australian, 12 Indonesian, 9 British, 4 German, 4 Belgium, 3 from the Philippines, 1 Canadian, 1 New Zealander, 1 US citizen, and 4 victims yet to be identified .  The indisputable facts evidence beyond a reasonable doubt that the pro-Russian supposed "separatist" groups, which control parts of the Luhansk-Donetsk regions of Ukraine, are guilty of this horrific terrorist crime. It is equally clear that these alleged "separatists" are supported, controlled, guided, trained, and armed with extremely deadly weapons by the Russian government.  One of these Russian supplied weapons - a BUK S11 SAM missile launcher  -- brought down Malaysian flight 17.

    The perpetrators of this terrorist attack should not be called "separatists" but must be called for what they truly are -- terrorists! . They are a motley conglomeration of Kremlin paid hoodlums, thugs, and mercenaries [many of whom are from Russia] who are controlled and directed by Russian special operatives sent into Ukraine by the Kremlin in the past half year so as to create chaos and lawlessness in order to undermine the lawful Ukrainian government.  Their sadistically heartless and bandit handling of the victims' remains, pilferage of their belongings, and spoliation of the crash-site only further confirms their true terrorist nature.  No amount of obfuscation by the propaganda machine of the Kremlin can hide the Russian government's direct involvement with these terrorist organizations nor camouflage Russia's objective to use terrorism in order to reach its political objective - the ultimate destruction of Ukraine's independence.

    18 U.S.C. § 2331 of the Federal Crimes and Procedures Act states that:

    "(1) the term "international terrorism" means activities that - (A) involve violent acts or acts dangerous to human life that are a violation of the criminal laws of the United States or of any State, or that would be a criminal violation if committed within the jurisdiction of the United States or of any State; (B) appear to be intended - (i) to intimidate or coerce a civilian population; (ii) to influence the policy of a government by intimidation or coercion; or (iii) to affect the conduct of a government by mass destruction, assassination, or kidnapping; and (C) occur primarily outside the territorial jurisdiction of the United States, or transcend national boundaries in terms of the means by which they are accomplished, the persons they appear intended to intimidate or coerce, or the locale in which their perpetrators operate or seek asylum."

    US Code - Chapter 113B - establishes the jurisdiction of the US Courts [18 U.S.C. § 2334] and imposes criminal penalties for international terroristic acts resulting in the death of a US national [18 U.S.C. § 2332] including situations in which the victim's death was caused by missile systems designed to destroy aircraft. [18 U.S.C. § 2332G]

    The US Department of State has the obligation under 22 U.S. Code § 2656f to report to Congress those countries that are sponsors of international terrorism and the Secretary of State has the authority to impose sanctions for such immoral conduct:

    "Countries determined by the Secretary of State to have repeatedly provided support for acts of international terrorism are designated pursuant to three laws: section 6(j) of the Export Administration Act, section 40 of the Arms Export Control Act, and section 620A of the Foreign Assistance Act. Taken together, the four main categories of sanctions resulting from designation under these authorities include restrictions on U.S. foreign assistance; a ban on defense exports and sales; certain controls over exports of dual use items; and miscellaneous financial and other restrictions.

    Designation under the above-referenced authorities also implicates other sanctions laws that penalize persons and countries engaging in certain trade with state sponsors. Currently there are four countries designated under these authorities: Cuba, Iran, Sudan and Syria."  US Department of State Website

    The American government will certainly continually and ever more strongly use condemning rhetoric to express our country's shock and horror at the shoot down of flight MH17.  However, our government - both the executive and legislative branches -- must also put words into actions and firmly enforce the basic principles of human decency which we as a nation profess and which are codified in our laws.

    It is high time for the Russian terrorist groups in the Luhansk-Donetsk regions of Ukraine to be designated as "Terrorist Organizations" under 8 U.S. Code § 1189 and for the Russian Federation to be added to the list of "State Sponsors of Terrorism".  Russia's continuing conduct in supporting, directing, financing and lethally arming the Luhansk-Donetsk terrorist organizations falls directly within the legislative definition of state-sponsored terrorism.  These terrorist organizations and the Russian Federation should and must now suffer the consequences that flow as a result of their actions in violation of US and International Law.  If we fail to put our words into action, we will only embolden Russian President Putin to continue with his terroristic behavior in flagrant disregard of international norms causing further untold human suffering and loss of life for generations to come.  The shoot down of  MH17 is symptomatic and also predictive of future consequences.  Putin's actions are a repeat of his clandestine and terroristic behavior in Chechnya, Georgia and Crimea  and even in Russia itself-- and if not stopped now, that region of the world will be catapulted toward a truly European war from which the US can't escape. 

    For further information, please contact

    Myroslaw Smorodsky, Esq.
    Communications Director of the Ukrainian American Bar Association (UABA)
    Tel: 201-507-4500; Email;
    myroslaw@smorodsky.com; Website; www.smorodsky.com


  • 09 Apr 2014 10:52 AM | Myroslaw Smorodsky (Administrator)

    The Ukrainian American Bar Association encourages everyone to contact the White House,
    their congressmen and senators to join and support this effort!
    Click here to view in PDF format  --- Натисніть тут
    для перегляду  у форматі PDF

    Press release -- April 9, 2014

    Ukrainian American Bar Association Urges Immediate Defensive Military Assistance to Ukraine

                In 1997, the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace opined that “Ukraine will do much to determine whether Europe and the world in the twenty-first century will be as bloody as they were in the twentieth.”  Ukraine is the largest European country.  Red Russia’s conquest and occupation of Ukraine was key to the formation and viability of the Soviet Union.  Ukraine’s declaration of independence in 1991 made that “Union” no longer possible.  The Cold War was suddenly over.  But Russia has now reinvaded a portion of Ukraine and is threatening to expand its military aggression further into Ukraine, which would in effect reverse the resolution of the Cold War.  The United States and the West should not countenance such a reprise or passively accept all that this would imply for our national security and the security of our European allies.

                Thus, for reasons of geopolitical prudence, the defense of Western values and fundamental morality, the Ukrainian American Bar Association urges our Government and NATO to provide Ukraine with immediate defensive military assistance.  If reports about what Ukraine has requested are accurate, such assistance should include anti-tank and anti-aircraft equipment, border control equipment, communications gear, mine-clearing equipment, vehicles, ammunition, fuel and medical gear.

                Our action or inaction with respect to the crisis in Ukraine does not merely implicate regional interests.  As reported in the world’s media, whether in Eastern Europe, the Far East or the Middle East, both our country’s allies as well as those who have already violated international norms and those who may be tempted to do so in the near future have watched our response to the Russian invasion and occupation of Crimea closely.  Our taking the view that the Budapest Memorandum does not obligate us to defend Ukraine has caused concern among our allies such as Japan and, if our passivity is continued, may well embolden our challengers.

                In the now famous words of President Kennedy, if you fool me once, shame on you; if you fool me twice, shame on me.  Russia has already fooled the United States and the rest of the world once when it lied about not having designs on Crimea.  For reasons set forth below, we should not now allow Russia to fool us again with respect to its subornation or invasion of the rest of Ukraine.

                At issue with respect to the Ukraine crisis is not a matter of influence or spheres of interest but unambiguously predatory aggression by Russia in Crimea, piracy of Ukrainian naval assets in and around Crimea, military intimidation with the massing of tens of thousands of troops and tanks on Ukraine’s borders, and now attempts at internal subversion, as reflected by the recent arrest of Russian special operations agents in Kyiv who had plans to detonate the Ukrainian parliament building and the Russian attempts at subversion in Donetsk, Luhansk and Kharkiv.

                Ukraine does not seek and the United States is understandably not prepared to put any boots on the ground to defend against further Russian aggression.  That said, it would be highly imprudent to fail to help Ukraine defend itself.  To begin, at the strong urging of the United States and the West, Ukraine in the 1990’s voluntarily gave up its entire nuclear arsenal, then the third largest in the word, and signed the nuclear non-proliferation agreement.  In return, the United States, Britain and Russia signed the Budapest Memorandum in which the signatories assured Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity.  If the United States now fails even to provide defensive military assistance to Ukraine when it is under immediate threat and after it has already been invaded, our ability to persuade or induce other international actors to give up or foreswear nuclear arms will be fatally compromised. 

                Second, our strong preference for seeking diplomatic resolutions to foreign challenges, while, in light of certain earlier entanglements that cost us much blood, treasure and credibility, is obviously laudable, where such measured and practical rationality does not produce clearly positive solutions, we may understandably be viewed internationally as dithering and, thus, temporarily weak.  As a matter of core national security and national interests, we cannot afford to be viewed in this light, however unfairly or unreasonably.

                Third, if we do not help Ukraine help itself immediately and wait to react until after Russia has further engaged in aggression, we will both lose credibility and find ourselves in the difficult reactive position of having to expend very considerable political and economic resources to mobilize real sanctions against the Putin regime in a Europe that has not yet recovered from the last economic recession and in the face of very strong private business interests that care principally about their bottom line rather than any geopolitical considerations.

                In addition to geopolitical considerations, there is the issue of the defense of Western values and the defense of the post-World War II and the post-Cold War order, both of which were achieved through the expenditure of tremendous human and financial capital.  As David Remnick, the well known observer of Russia has recounted in the April 2 issue of The New Yorker, after the Russian invasion of Crimea followed by president Putin’s triumphant but deeply resentful of the West speech, a leading Moscow columnist wrote in Komsomolskaya Pravda, the most popular daily in Russia, that “the Soviet Union, like the phoenix, has been reborn.”  And, that “it is not Crimea that has returned.  It is we who have returned.  Home.  To the U.S.S.R.”  As uncomfortable as it may be to force ourselves to acknowledge that we are dealing with a regime that has reignited an atavistic, primitive form of nationalism and imperialism, the failure to do so will not make it go away or preclude it from causing ongoing damage both to our interests and those of our allies as well as to what remains of the international order.

                There are, in addition, important moral considerations that militate in favor of providing defensive military aid to Ukraine.  To begin, in addition to taking the unique step of giving up its nuclear arsenal, Ukraine has been a very good international citizen.  Since its independence in 1991 and in response to U.N. or NATO requests, Ukraine has sent over 28,000 military and civilian personnel to help participate in numerous international peacekeeping and security operations during which 27 of those personnel were killed.  Ukraine’s soldiers and civilians have, for example, served in Kosovo, Afghanistan, Liberia, Congo and the Transdniestra region of Moldova.

                Further, as George Kennan noted in his diaries in 1944, “The jealous and intolerant eye of the Kremlin can distinguish, in the end, only vassals and enemies, and the neighbors of Russia, if they do not wish to be one, must reconcile themselves to being the other.”  As the University of Alabama at Birmingham historian George Liber has noted in his forthcoming history of Ukraine, over 13 million Ukrainians were killed during the 20th century, most by or at the direction of Stalin and his minions in Moscow, but with his former ally Hitler making a significant contribution in corpses as well.  The Yale historian Timothy Snyder has called Ukraine part of what he has termed the “Bloodlands.”   Russia is now seeking to re-impose vassal status upon Ukraine.  In light of the above-mentioned history, it would be immoral now to fail to help Ukraine help itself to avoid that fate.

                Lastly, whether out of ignorance or indifference on the part of all of those to whom Ukrainians simply didn’t matter enough, the world was silent in 1932-33 as Stalin’s regime ordered and carried out the deliberate starvation of millions of men, women and children in the Ukrainian countryside in order finally to bring Ukrainians to heel in what is today referred to as the Holodomor.  It would be more than indecent if we again did nothing as Russia seeks to devour pieces or all of Ukraine.   

    Ukrainian American Bar Association by all the Officers and Governors of the UABA

    For further information, please contact
    Myroslaw Smorodsky, Esq.
    Communications Director of the Ukrainian American Bar Association (UABA)
    Tel: 201-507-4500; Email;
    myroslaw@smorodsky.com; Website; www.smorodsky.com
  • 23 Mar 2014 9:48 PM | Myroslaw Smorodsky (Administrator)

     March 23, 2014  PDF Version attached

    Ukrainian American Bar Association's Appeal to the Members of the US Congress 

    The Ukrainian American Bar Association (UABA) strongly urges each member of Congress to vote for the new bill introduced by House Foreign Affairs Chairman Ed Royce, R-Calif., and co-sponsored by his ranking member, Eliot L. Engel, D-N.Y.,  imposing sanctions on Russia and providing economic aid to Ukraine.

    An expeditious legislative response to the fast-moving international crisis in Ukraine fueled by Russian President Vladimir Putin's illegal forced annexation of Crimea is of the essence. Putin's attempts to destabilize Ukraine with military intimidation, staged political unrest and economic disruption proceed unabated. Without resistance and a concerted response from the United States and the European Union, Putin will continue to flex Russian muscle and mock Western weakness.

    We cannot forget that Ukraine's independence triggered the dissolution of the Soviet Union and allowed the United States to declare that it had won the Cold War.  The Kremlin is now unilaterally reversing that as the world wrings its hands. Not only does Ukraine require immediate assistance to maintain its independence, but the US must provide the assistance for the sake of its own global credibility and national security.

    Now is not the time for bipartisan debate and standstill. The encouraging words of the bipartisan Committee lead by Senator John McCain which visited Kiev earlier this month and the statements by Secretary of State John Kerry and President Barack Obama must be followed by action.  Please, therefore, support the new bill to avoid a Congressional deadlock and provide President Obama with the tools needed to counter Putin's aggression.

    As stated by Chairman Royce in introducing the bill:

    “Russia’s illegal annexation of Crimea and intimidation of Ukraine should be a wakeup call. The U.S. and our European friends should be bolstering the sovereignty and independence of Ukraine. That means aiding Ukraine’s fledgling democracy, with its May elections looming, and bolstering its economy, including by helping [ease] Putin’s energy grip over Eastern Europe. The U.S. should act immediately to increase natural gas exports to Europe, undermining Russia’s monopoly, and creating American jobs. Strong sanctions against those Russians responsible for this aggression against Ukraine are critical.”

    Voicing bipartisan support, Representative Engel concurred:

    “The United States must stand with the people of Ukraine in the wake of Russia’s attack on and occupation of Crimea. This important legislation supplements the President’s efforts to impose sanctions on those responsible for violating Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity, looting Ukraine’s economy, and violating human rights in Ukraine. It sends a clear message to President Putin and his corrupt cronies that we will not tolerate Russian aggression. The bill also provides assistance to support the people of Ukraine as they work to rebuild their economy and prepare for democratic elections, and reaffirms our commitment to the security of our NATO partners in East and Central Europe.”

    By swiftly enacting this legislation, President Obama will be placed in a position to not only counter Putin, but to rally international support for Ukraine during meetings with European officials next week in Brussels and The Hague. United States leadership and power in this international crisis must be reinforced through bipartisan legislative action.

    Your affirmative vote is therefore respectfully requested.

    For further information, please contact

    Myroslaw Smorodsky, Esq.

    Communications Director of the Ukrainian American Bar Association (UABA)

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

    This appeal was authored by UABA Member Myron Martynetz, J.D.

  • 22 Mar 2014 3:28 PM | Myroslaw Smorodsky (Administrator)

    Click here to view in PDF format  --- Натисніть тут для перегляду  у форматі PDF


    Is Ukraine the Canary in the European Coal Mine?

                   An invasion and occupation of another European country’s territory constitutes what German chancellor Angela Merkel has accurately described as conduct reflective of the law of the jungle.   Such conduct is in itself dangerous to the Euro-Atlantic region’s safety and stability.  But when it is combined with a host of other factors involving authoritarianism, recently introduced indicia of totalitarianism, and a toxic and delusional ideology then such conduct becomes so alarming as to require sustained, resolute and severe counter measures beginning with economic and political sanctions and, if such conduct continues, possibly even military counter measures.

                   Russian president Putin’s invasion and occupation of Crimea are not merely the actions of a bully, which would be bad enough.  It is incontrovertible that his Russia is an authoritarian state in which he controls the legislature and judiciary as well as traditional media.  But what is worse, he and his former colleagues at the KGB who are now his closest advisors have recently launched a campaign to silence the remaining independent media voices in Russia by, for example, replacing the longtime editor-in-chief of the news agency Lenta.ru with a Kremlin toady and forcing all major cable providers to remove Dozhd, an independent news outlet, from the air.  This makes it possible for the Putin regime to lie about what is happening in Ukraine with impunity.  And given the highly centralized and controlled “management” of the news and thus of public debate, it should not be surprising that opinion surveys show that a majority of Russians are supportive of Putin’s aggression in Ukraine.

                   But it is the toxic ideology and worldview prevalent among Putin and his former KGB officers that when added to the above set of factors evokes even greater concern.  Putin has famously stated that the collapse of the Soviet Union was the greatest geo-political catastrophe of the 20th century.   Given that the Soviet Union had the blood of many millions on its hands and also caused the enslavement in the Gulag of still other millions, Putin’s opinion about the Soviet Union constitutes a pathological view of history (imagine if, for example, a post-war German chancellor had stated that the defeat of the Third Reich was the greatest geo-political disaster of the 20th century).  But it is the popularity of the so-called Eurasian project that is outright alarming.

                   Alexandr Dugin is reported to be the chief ideologist of Eurasianism, an ideology that, according to most accounts, is supported by Putin.  Dugan has explained that the Eurasian movement seeks to restore Russian power and prestige, and he has written that the new Eurasian empire will be constructed on the basic principle of opposition to the common enemy, namely, Atlanticism and the American New World Order.   After Russia invaded Crimea, Dugan wrote an article in his blog in which he predicted cataclysmic events in Ukraine, which he elsewhere describes as not being a real nation, and the establishment of a new “Continental Association” (another name for the Eurasian union) led by Russia that will stretch from Lisbon to Vladivostok.

                   This all sounds a bit nutty, except we need to remind ourselves that similar things may have been thought about the musings of an itinerant painter from Austria when he wrote his Mein Kampf.   Since the Eurasian project sounds nutty, the natural reaction is to laugh it off as about as likely of success as transforming the moon into green cheese.  But the issue is not likelihood of success, but the likelihood of attempts at actualization.  The idea of a thousand year Reich was preposterous too, but it was the attempt to actualize that fantasy that caused more than a little mischief. 

    UABA member Bohdan Vitvitsky, J.D., Ph.D., authored this analytical statement.

  • 16 Mar 2014 3:18 PM | Myroslaw Smorodsky (Administrator)

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    Crimean Referendum to Join Russia Violates Ukraines Constitution, Domestic Laws, and General Principles of International Law

    The Crimean referendum to join Russia on March 16 is illegal and threatens Ukrainian sovereignty, territorial integrity, national and world peace, and international order and security. It is against the Constitution of Ukraine, its laws, generally accepted norms and principles of international law, and every conceivable principle of democracy. Countless international organizations and most countries around the world have already stated that under no circumstances is the Crimean Referendum legitimate; therefore, its results will not be accepted and recognized by the international community.



    First, it is plainly obvious that a Crimean-only referendum regarding its status is in direct violation of the Constitution of Ukraine. Article 2 of the Constitution (both 1996 and 2004 versions) clearly states that Ukraine is a unitary state and that its territory within its present borders shall be indivisible and inviolable. Ukraine is comprised of 25 administrative regions (including the Autonomous Republic of Crimea), plus the capital of Kyiv and the city of Sevastopol. Crimea is an integral constituent part of Ukraine (Article 134). The territorial structure of Ukraine is based on the principles of unity and integrity of the State territory (Article 134). The Constitution of Ukraine cannot be amended if the amendment is aimed at the liquidation of the independence or violation of the territorial integrity of Ukraine (Article 157). Article 73 of the Constitution clearly prescribes that any alterations to the territory of Ukraine shall be approved exclusively by an all-Ukrainian referendum. Article 72 provides an imperative procedure for the all-Ukrainian referendum that must be strictly observed.



    The Crimean referendum also contradicts the Constitution of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea. Paragraph 2 of part 2 of its Article 7 unequivocally states that any referendum to change the territorial boundaries of Crimea must be conducted in accordance with the Constitution of Ukraine. Further, the opening paragraph of the Crimean Constitution makes a general declaration that the Autonomous Republic of Crimea is an integral part of Ukraine and shall govern itself within the boundaries set by the Ukrainian Constitution. Drawing on this principle, paragraph 2 of Article 2 of the Crimean Constitution states that the Constitution of Ukraine preempts any conflicting law passed by the Autonomous Republic of Crimea.



    According to paragraphs 13 and 20 of Article 92 of the Constitution of Ukraine, the questions of territorial integrity and the conduct of referenda are to be regulated exclusively by the laws of Ukraine adopted by the Verkhovna Rada (Ukrainian parliament). There is presently no law in Ukraine that regulates regional (local) referenda. Thus, the mere fact the Crimean parliament decided to hold a local referendum without an existing procedure defined by the law is, on its face, unlawful and violates human and citizen rights. Article 57 of the Constitution of Ukraine states that everyone has the right to know his or her rights and duties. Furthermore, laws and other regulatory legal acts defining the rights and duties of citizens are invalid, unless the population has been notified in compliance with the procedure established by law. Because the law on local referendum does not exist, the rights and duties of citizens are not defined and, evidently, no one knows the extent of such rights and duties.



    Even from a practical point of view, the referendum cannot pass the test of legitimacy. The referendum was organized in 10 days by a self-appointed Crimean leader who represents the Russian Unity Party, which received less than 4% of support in last election. There is no expert analysis of the wording of the questions included on the referendum ballot, the procedure for running the vote is more than questionable, and the international experts and observers have not been allowed into the region. Moreover, the “voting” will be held in an environment where armed soldiers, with no insignia but widely considered to be Russian, are overseeing the event. It is hard to imagine that the free expression of the voters will, required by part 2 of Article 71 of the Constitution of Ukraine, can be guaranteed under these circumstances. The voters, if they do vote, will be doing so under duress.



    Various ethnic and religious minority groups in Ukraine, including the Crimean Tatars and the Jews, as well as Ukraines civic sector have all expressed their desire to preserve status quo and stay with Ukraine and not to be forced to flee their homes and leave their lives behind. Notably, the Majlis of the Crimean Tatar People has asked the Crimean residents to boycott the sham referendum. Crimeas indigenous population of about 300,000 Crimean Tatars, who suffered persecution and killings under the Soviet regime and Stalin, spent decades to return to their homeland, yet are facing grave danger again. It needs to be noted that the wording of the referendum ballot does not event allow for preservation of the status quo. This clearly violates citizens rights and restricts basic freedoms, in contradiction of the Constitution of Ukraine.



    The referendum in Crimea has also been universally condemned as unconstitutional and illegal by the Ukrainian government institutions, as well as by representatives of Ukraines ethnic and religious minorities and the civic sector. On March 7, the interim President of Ukraine Oleksandr Turchynov suspended the Crimean parliaments resolution authorizing the March 16 referendum. On March 11, the Verkhovna Rada issued a statement demanding the Crimean parliament to immediately revise its decision in compliance with the Constitution and the laws of Ukraine. Ukraines Minister of Justice Pavlo Petrenko, Ombudsman Valeriya Lutkovska, and Chair of the Council of Judges Vasyl Onopenko have come out with similar statements. On March 14, the Constitutional Court of Ukraine ruled that the Crimean referendum is unconstitutional and ordered the peninsulas authorities to immediately cease any preparatory actions in this regard. Furthermore, on March 15, the Council of Europe’s Venice Commission for Democracy through Law issued an opinion holding the referendum illegitimate, as the possibility of such a vote is not provided for by either the Ukrainian or the Crimean Constitution and the procedure and circumstances under which it is being conducted are contrary to all democratic principles.



    The legality of the referendum in Crimea similarly does not pass muster under the general principles of international law. On one hand, both the Charter of the United Nations (UN Charter) and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) recognize that “[a]ll peoples have the right to self-determination.” On the other hand, under Article 2(4) of the UN Charter and the Declaration on Principles of International Law Concerning Friendly Relations and Cooperation Among States in Accordance with the Charter of the United Nations (1970), “Members shall refrain in their international relations from the threat or use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of any state…” The Helsinki Final Act of the Conference on Security and Cooperation in Europe (1975) reiterates this principle and continues, in its Chapter 1, that, while the national borders can be changed, this must occur “in accordance with international law, by peaceful means and by agreement.” Most recently, on September 19, 2012, world leaders and civil society representatives adopted the Declaration on the Rule of Law at the National and International Levels, reaffirming their commitment to upholding the sovereign equality of all States, respecting their territorial integrity and political independence, refraining from the threat or use of force in a manner inconsistent with the UN Charter, and upholding the peaceful resolution of disputes in conformity with the principles of justice and international law.



    The international legal framework recognizes the need to carefully balance two competing principles – the right to self-determination and the territorial integrity of the state. In this context, the accepted position under international law and established practice gives clear preference for maintaining the status quo with respect to recognized territorial borders of the states. The 1993 Vienna Declaration of the UN World Conference on Human Rights states that the right to self-determination “shall not be construed as authorizing or encouraging any action which would dismember or impair, totally or in part, the territorial integrity or political unity of sovereign and independent States…” In other words, in the event of a conflict between the peoples right to self-determination and the principle of territorial integrity of the state, the latter usually prevails.



    International law does not recognize the right to secession as a preferred manifestation of the right to self-determination. In fact, it has been said that such a narrow interpretation of the right to self-determination threatens territorial integrity and can only lead to greater problems than solutions. Instead, the right to self-determination should be interpreted broadly, including through such forms as right to cultural independence, religious freedom, use of own language, and enhanced autonomy, all exercised within the confines of existing national borders and falling short of secession. Every effort should be made to preserve territorial integrity and political unity of the states.



    This preference for territorial integrity over separatism does not mean that the international legal framework does not recognize the right to secession in certain, limited conditions. However, this right to remedial secession may only be triggered under the most extreme circumstances, typically involving situations of widespread, continuous pattern of gross human rights violations (such as crimes against humanity or genocide) against a vulnerable group. The exercise of the right to self-determination through secession is viewed as a last resort, through the prism of the duty of international community to protect against gross abuses of human rights. Moreover, even in such instances, the international practice does not recognize the right of a people to unilateral secession from a recognized state. Instead, any settlement of domestic conflict that deviates from the territorial status quo must necessarily rely on an internationally sanctioned negotiation process among all interested parties and, to the extent possible, the consent of disputing parties.



    It appears that no one but Russia believes that the situation in Crimea presents any of the extreme circumstances that could justify the argument for the exercise of the right self-determination by means of remedial secession. In fact, it should be stressed that no evidence exists whatsoever that Ukraine’s interim government threatens the population of Crimea in any way. Specifically, the Russian population in Crimea has not been subject to violations of their human rights or oppression in the exercise of their cultural, religious, or linguistic rights, and so cannot be seen as a vulnerable group in this context. Moreover, the new Ukrainian authorities have signaled their willingness to negotiate the granting of expanded autonomy to the Crimean citizens, most recently during the speech by Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk before the UN Security Council on March 13. Additionally, the Crimean Tatars, which represent the indigenous population of Crimea, have consistently expressed their support for preservation of territorial integrity and sovereignty of the independent Ukraine. Russian and other ethnic populations present in Crimea are fully able to exercise their rights within the established territorial boundaries of Ukraine, and therefore are not entitled to separate from Ukraine in a unilateral manner. It is for this very reason that the referendum in Crimea does not enjoy the support of international community, having been condemned by the UN Security Council, Council of Europe, OSCE, EU, NATO, the United States, and most other countries around the world. The Crimean referendum is seen as disruptive of the established international order, the preservation of which is one of the key objectives of international security systems.



    Russia and separatist groups in Crimea have recently invoked Kosovo in support of their position for the right to self-determination through secession. It must be noted, however, there are fundamental differences between the situation of ethnic Albanians in Kosovo under the former Yugoslavian rule and that of ethnic Russians in Crimea under the Ukrainian government. Kosovos remedial secession was a result of a clear and documented pattern of mass atrocities perpetrated against its predominantly ethnic Albanian population. The referendum concerning Kosovos political status was explicitly required by the 1999 UN Security Council Resolution 1244, and as such was an internationally sanctioned and accepted process. Between 1999 and Kosovos referendum in 2008, the territory was administered as a UN protectorate, which allowed to engage in extensive international negotiations and a mediation process overseen by an international Contact Group.



    Russia has explicitly rejected such an approach with respect to settlement of the status of Crimea. It refused to participate in a proposed Contact Group, and continues to rely on its surrogates in Crimea to physically intimidate and prevent access to the peninsula by the UN and the OSCE monitors. The hypocrisy of Russias reference to Kosovo is even more astonishing, given the fact that Russia has not recognized Kosovos independence. In fact, in its written statement to the International Court of Justice submitted as part of a proceeding to issue an advisory opinion on the status of Kosovo, Russia argued that unilateral secession as a manifestation of the right to self-determination should apply “only in extreme circumstances, when the people concerned is continuously subjected to most severe forms of oppression that endangers [their] very existence…” and that “the situation [in Kosovo] does not even begin to come close to the ‘extreme circumstances under which the right to secession may be invoked.”



    In light of the above analysis, any referendum in Crimea would have no legal effect under either Ukrainian or international law. Given the lack of adequate preparation and the intimidating presence of Russian troops, it would also be a deeply flawed process, which would have no moral effect. The annexation of Crimea could have grave implications for the international legal order that protects the unity and sovereignty of all states. The referendum outcome, despite being illegal and illegitimate under both national and international rules and principles in the first place, is almost certain to push Crimea into the unresolved status. For all of the reasons stated above, Ukraine and all civilized nationswill definitely not recognize the referendum. Russia, however, will keep referring to its fraudulent results. For years to come, Russia can use this uncertainty around the peninsula as a certain degree of leverage in the game which the people of Ukraine have never intended to be a part of. Everything they wanted was to eliminate the vestiges of their totalitarian Soviet past and the corrupt and bloody dictatorship of Yanukovych, in order to build a strong and democraticEuropean state. Given the strong commitment to advancing the rule of law both at the national and international levels, it is critical on this truly historic occasion for all political forces in Ukraine to respect national laws, and for all members of the international community to respect international law and justice. Most notably, it bears reminding that, under the 1994 Budapest Memorandum on Security Assurances, the United States, Great Britain, and Russia have all undertaken a commitment to provide guarantees against threats or use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of Ukraine, in exchange for Ukraine’s accession to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons and giving up the world’s third largest nuclear arsenal. Ukraine has complied with its end of this agreement, and the time has now come for its other signatories to adhere to their obligations.



    March 16, 2014



    Statement prepared by the Constitutional Law Committee

    Judge Bohdan A. Futey, Chairman



    Unfortunately, full text of the Opinion will not be published until March 21-22.

    In this regard, a 1998 advisory opinion of the Supreme Court of Canada, Reference re Secession of Quebec, offers instrumental guidance with respect to the present situation in Crimea. In it, the Court held that Quebecs proposed referendum on separation from Canada was unconstitutional under Canadas Constitution. Instead, any proposed secession would require a nationwide referendum and, if approved by such referendum, be followed by intensive negotiations to define the terms under which Quebec would gain independence from Canada. The Court also reaffirmed the fact that international law does not entitle constituent parts of a sovereign state to secede unilaterally from the parent state, as long as the people are able to meaningfully exercise their right to self-determination within an existing nation state.

    On March 15, the UN Security Council would have issued a formal resolution strongly condemning the Crimean referendum as illegal, but for Russia’s veto over the proposed document. The other 13 members of the Council voted in favor of the resolution, with China abstaining.

  • 11 Mar 2014 9:21 AM | Myroslaw Smorodsky (Administrator)

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    Washington, D.C., 07 March, 2014 
    Dear Members of U.S. Congress:

    I would like to begin by thanking the United States of America, and specifically the U.S. Congress, for the unwavering support of Ukraine at these challenging times.
    For the past couple of months Ukraine has been in the world’s headlines.
    The whole world saw the determination of hundreds of thousands of Ukrainians who took to the streets to stand for a better life, for freedom, democracy and end of blatant corruption that stifled our country for far too long.
    Yet the Yanukovych regime tried to silence the protesters with guns. Peaceful and unarmed demonstrators were met by special forces with snipers, who shot dead almost a hundred people and wounded hundreds more.
    In an attempt to prevent further bloodshed and resolve the crisis, on February 21, 2014 leaders of the opposition Vitalii Klychko, Oleh Tyahnybok and Arsenii Yatsenyuk on one side and Viktor Yanukovych on the other signed an Agreement that had been negotiated with the help of foreign ministers of Poland, Germany and France.
    Russia’s special envoy, Vladimir Lukin, was present but refused to sign it (therefore, the suggestion by the Russian side that the opposition failed to implement the Agreement is groundless).
    The Agreement called for an end of violence, restoration of the Ukrainian Constitution of 2004 and early presidential elections.
    However, on February 22, 2014 Viktor Yanukovych fled the capital and de facto removed himself from his constitutional authority.
    Therefore, on February 22, 2014 the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine, which was the only legitimate authority in Ukraine at the time, given the resignation of the Government and the President’s self-removal from exercising his functions, and restored the 2004 Constitution (approved by 386 votes out of 450), recognized that Viktor Yanukovych removed himself from his constitutional duties through unconstitutional means by 386 votes, including 140 votes from the pro-Yanukovych Party of Regions and set the early elections of the President of Ukraine on May 25, 2014 (328 votes).
    According to Article 112 of the Constitution of Ukraine of 2004 in case of early termination of powers of the President of Ukraine the functions of the President of Ukraine shall be carried out by the Speaker of the Parliament until a new President is elected and inaugurated, the only legitimate supreme authority in Ukraine is the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine.
    The Rada elected new Speaker, Mr. Oleksandr Turchynov (by 288 votes), who acts as the President of Ukraine until the elections, and appointed Mr. Yatseniuk as the Prime Minister (by 371 votes). These actions were made in full compliance with Ukrainian laws.
    However, Russia did not recognize these changes and considers Viktor Yanukovych a legitimate President.
    Producing a piece of paper purporting to be Mr. Yanukovych’s letter asking Mr. Putin to send Russian troops to Ukraine, the Federation Council of Russia, upon Mr. Putin’s request, approved such decision.
    Mr. Yanukovych is no longer the President of Ukraine, particularly after his escape from Kyiv on February 22, 2014. Therefore, none of his statements have any significance under either Ukrainian or international law.
    But in any way, even if the legitimate President of Ukraine called upon a foreign country to intervene with its armed forces in Ukraine, such a statement would also be worth nothing, because under the Constitution of Ukraine (Art. 85) only the Verhovna Rada of Ukraine can approve decisions on admitting units of armed forces of other states to the territory of Ukraine. The Rada clearly stated that it had not made any such decisions.
    Seeing that Ukraine is determined to pursue its European course, Russia, under the completely trumped up pretext invaded Crimea with its armed forces.
    The Russian forces are seeking to establish complete control over Ukraine’s military facilities in Crimea, trying to block and disarm Ukrainian military garrisons and border guard bases, blocking airports and ships. The Russian troops and armored vehicles are moving uncontrollably around Crimea, numerous Russian military planes and helicopters violated Ukrainian airspace.
    By countless provocation's, Russian military is seeking to instigate an armed conflict and replicate in Ukraine the Abkhazia and South Ossetia scenario. However, Ukrainian servicemen act with utmost restraint and don’t react to such provocation's, but there’s a threat that Russia may engineer provocation's against its own troops, and blame them on Ukraine.
    There is also an ongoing accumulation of military equipment on the Russian territory in close proximity to the border of Ukraine in the Kharkiv, Luhansk, Donetsk and Chernihiv oblasts. These actions may indicate preparations of the Russian side for possible intervention into the Ukrainian territory across the land border.
    The military intervention is accompanied by a huge outburst of fabrications. I can assure you that Russian-speaking citizens of Ukraine enjoy the same rights and freedoms as other citizens of my country. Nobody has ever forbidden, forbids or will forbid the use of the Russian language, as the Russian propaganda tries to demonstrate.
    As of today there is no proof of any violations of Russian minority rights in Ukraine; there were no appeals to the relevant Ukrainian authorities neither from those allegedly affected nor from Russia’s officials. In accordance with the Memorandum of Understanding between the Parliamentary Commissioner on Human Rights of Ukraine and the Ombudsman of the Russian Federation in case of such appeals to the Russian side they are transferred to the Ukrainian Ombudsman.
    The actions by the Russian Federation constitute an act of aggression against the state of Ukraine. Russian Federation brutally violated the basic principles of Charter of the United Nations obliging all member states to refrain from the threat or use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of any state.
    Ukraine in the strongest possible terms protested such actions, but Russia officially rejected Ukrainian proposal to hold immediate bilateral consultations (under Article 7 of the Treaty on Friendship, Cooperation and Partnership between Ukraine and the Russian Federation of 1997).
    Russia’s actions pose a serious threat not only to the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine, but also to peace and stability in the whole region. Moreover, Russia’s actions provoke a disbalance in the international security system and can lead to violations of the regime of international nuclear non-proliferation on a global scale.
    When in 1994, Ukraine became a party to Non-Proliferation Treaty and voluntarily surrendered the third largest nuclear arsenal in the world it did so exclusively under certain conditions. These conditions envisaged granting security assurances to Ukraine by the 5 nuclear states.
    On December 5, 1994, the United States, the Russian Federation and the United Kingdom signed the Budapest Memorandum on Security Assurances to Ukraine. The French Republic and the People’s Republic of China supported the Memorandum by signing separate declarations.
    Ukraine has thoroughly implemented its commitments under the Non-Proliferation Treaty, and has taken and fulfilled additional obligations by getting rid of all its stockpiles of highly enriched uranium.
    Today we witness the situation when the Russian Federation attempts to undermine the NPT regime not only by violating the Budapest Memorandum, but also by violating the Non-Proliferation Treaty, which clearly states in its Preamble that “States must refrain in their international relations from the threat or use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of any State, or in any other manner”.
    Non-adherence by one Guarantor State – the Russian Federation – to its commitments under the Budapest Memorandum by the military invasion in Ukraine creates a situation when the threshold states may consider international legal instruments insufficient to ensure security, territorial integrity and inviolability of their borders.
    We rely on the commitments contained in the Budapest Memorandum of 1994 and the Charter on a Distinctive Partnership between NATO in Ukraine, as well as the U.S.-Ukraine Charter on Strategic Partnership and other bilateral documents.
    We need help from the guarantor states, the UN, NATO, the OSCE, the European Union, all civilized nations to protect our sovereignty and territorial integrity by all available means and to prevent a war which would shatter peace in Europe and will have grave and irrevocable consequences for peace and security on a global scale.
    The aggression must be stopped, and we rely on the strong and unified position of the global community.
    Military units deployed from Russia must leave the territory of Ukraine immediately, and those belonging to the Russian Black Sea Fleet must return to their barracks. Armed gangs that came from Russia must also immediately leave Ukraine.
    Crimea is an inalienable part of Ukraine, with citizens of all ethnic backgrounds.
    All issues should be resolved through negotiations. There is no alternative to a peaceful and diplomatic solution of the crisis. We hope that wisdom will prevail.
    We need America’s help, and we count on it.
    Sincerely yours,
    Olexandr Motsyk
    Ambassador of Ukraine to the United States, Washington, D.C.

  • 04 Mar 2014 4:28 PM | Myroslaw Smorodsky (Administrator)

    PRESS RELEASE March 4, 2014

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    The Russian government is deceitfully attempting to justify its invasion of Ukraine under a pretext that ethnic Russians who reside in Ukraine are discriminated against because of their use of the Russian language and their ethnic background. The Kremlin disingenuously claims that the new Ukrainian government recently passed legislation "banning" the Russian language. The Kremlin's disinformation campaign is clearly intended to foment ethnic tensions and destabilize Ukraine. Regrettably, Western media has been blindly reciting this disinformation as if it were fact without doing any due diligence whatsoever as to its accuracy.

    The "Ukrainian Law on Language Policy" was unconstitutionally adopted in July of 2012 and signed by then Pres. Yanukovych.  The Hon. Knut Vollebaek, High Commissioner on National Minorities with the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), told the Ukrainian Parliament that the 2012 legislation did not meet European standards since its "approach to language policy is deeply divisive and is likely to lead to future polarization of society. Indeed, the disproportionate favoring of the Russian language, while also removing most incentives for learning or using Ukrainian in large parts of the country, could potentially undermined Ukraine's very cohesion".  Hon. Knut Vollebaek, also expressed his concern that the 2012 legislation was not properly adopted in accordance with existing Ukrainian constitutional and procedural law.  Prior to its alleged passage, the 2012 "Ukrainian Law on Language Policy" law was severely criticized by leading Ukrainian legal scholars, the National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine and other institutes of higher learning, and numerous ministries within the Yanukovych government itself, as divisive and failing to protect the rights of all Ukrainians irrespective of their ethnic background. The Venice Commission of the Council of Europe, in reviewing the 2012 "Ukrainian Law on Language Policy" legislation in comparison to European standards, stated that it failed to provide a proper balance between the development and use of a state language as a unifying factor in society and the development and protection of minority languages in accordance with European standards. 

    On February 23rd 2014, the Ukrainian Parliament repealed - in one sentence - the 2012 "Ukrainian Law on Language Policy".  There is absolutely no mention in this legislation of banning anything.

    In an effort to deescalate the ethnic tensions resulting from the Kremlin's disinformation campaign, [which has been fueled by erroneous Western media reporting], the Ukrainian Interim President Oleksandr Turchynov vetoed the February 23, 2014 repeal legislation and the Ukrainian Parliament will be drafting new legislation to comport with European standards so as to properly safeguard the rights of all minorities and all citizens of Ukraine. 

    Western media – especially those with international reach – must fulfill their journalistic obligations and stop being unwitting enablers of disinformation talking points emanating from the Kremlin and its public relations firms in the West, and must do independent due diligence as to the accuracy of their reporting. Failure to do so will only artificially create ethnic tensions in Ukraine thus fulfilling the goal of the Russian government to destabilize Ukraine so as to camouflage its invasion of Ukraine in full violation of all international standards and law.

    Internet links to sources for the above referenced documents are in the Appendix below;  

    For further information, please contact

    Myroslaw Smorodsky, Esq.

    Counsellor at Law

    730 West Saddle River Rd., Ho-Ho-Kus, NJ 07423

    Tel: 201-507-4500; Direct dial; 201-857-2714; Fax; 201-882-2498; Email; myroslaw@smorodsky.com; Website; www.smorodsky.com

    Communications Director of the Ukrainian American Bar Association (UABA)

    Immediate Past Chairman of the Board of Governors of the UABA,

    Former Public Member of the United States Delegation to the Conference on Security and Cooperation  in Europe (CSCE) Madrid, 1980







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