By Jane Morse
The Obama administration announced a new package of assistance totaling $50 million to help Ukraine pursue political and economic reform and strengthen the partnership between the United States and Ukraine.
A fact sheet released by the White House April 22 said that U.S. support for Ukraine is “an urgent priority as the Ukrainian government works to establish security and stability, pursue democratic elections and constitutional reform, revive its economy, and ensure government institutions are transparent and accountable to the Ukrainian people.”
Acknowledging Ukraine’s “severe challenges to its sovereignty and territorial integrity,” the White House fact sheet continued: “The United States is committed to ensuring that Ukrainians alone are able to determine their country’s future without intimidation or coercion from outside forces.”
Vice President Biden visited Ukraine April 21–22, in what is the highest-level visit of a U.S. official since the crisis erupted. During his visit, Biden met with Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk, Rada Speaker and acting President Oleksander Turchynov and key legislators representing different political parties and regions within the Rada. Discussions focused on the international community’s efforts to help stabilize and strengthen Ukraine’s economy and to assist Ukraine in moving forward on constitutional reform, decentralization, anti-corruption efforts, and free and fair presidential elections on May 25.
“The United States supports the rights, the freedoms and the fundamental dignity of the people of Ukraine, all the people of Ukraine,” Biden told Ukrainian legislators April 22.
The United States, Biden said, supports a “united, prosperous and coherent Ukraine.” He added: “To the extent that we can help in stabilizing and strengthening Ukraine’s economy by helping you withstand the unfair economic pressure being thrust upon you, we stand ready to do that, and I say the American people stand ready — not just Barack Obama and Joe Biden — but the American people.”
Biden encouraged the legislators to grasp “the opportunity to generate a united Ukraine.” He added the observation that “there is a much greater desire to call oneself a Ukrainian than to call oneself anything else. And that’s a major, major, major unifying power, no matter how different the traditions are.”