Ukrainian Leaders Gather Support in Washington

REUTERS/Larry DowningOn his fourteenth day as Ukraine’s interim prime minister, Arseniy Yatsenyuk hustled through Washington today to gather support for his country against Russia’s invasion of Crimea. He visited the White House, the State Department, Congresss, the Atlantic Council, and the International Monetary Fund. At the White House, President Obama welcomed Yatsenyuk by commending the Ukrainian people on their courage in the face of the Russian assault, a national economic and debt crisis, and other challenges.

Obama repeated in his remarks that the United States considers the Russian incursion into Crimea  a violation of Ukraine’s territorial integrity and sovereignty, and of international law.

Official Statements and Transcripts

The State Department, where Yatsenyuk met Secretary of State John Kerry, released a fact sheet outlining increased US cooperation with Ukraine. Yatesnyuk praised the US steps to support Ukraine, including a one billion dollar loan guarantee that he said would be a “key factor” in winning further international assistance. According to the fact sheet, other elements of official US help for Ukraine include a business summit to be organized by the Department of Commerce, an Energy Security Working Group to be set up by a State Department envoy, and US-Ukraine bilateral defense consultations organized by the Defense Department.

These long-term support mechanisms will follow a number of more immediate measures:

  • Support for the May presidential elections. The United States will double its planned assistance to support electoral law reform to improve election administration, provide election monitoring, and promote robust involvement by a strong and independent civil society and media.
  • Department of Defense personnel will organize a Humanitarian Assistance Planning Conference with the Ukrainian Armed Forces. The US will provide pre-packaged military rations for use by the Ukrainian Armed Forces.
  • Support for asset recovery efforts. Department of Justice and FBI teams are already in Ukraine to provide strategic advice and capacity building to locate the proceeds of corruption looted by former officials. The State Department will offer technical expertise for bilateral and multilateral efforts to facilitate Ukraine’s efforts to recover these assets located in overseas financial institutions.
  • New technical support to help Ukraine with immediate economic management challenges. The United States is providing expertise to help the Ukrainian Ministry of Finance and Central Bank navigate near-term economic challenges. The Department of Treasury has sent an expert advisor and the United States will offer other help to meet Ukraine’s near-term economic and financial management needs.

Washington’s full diplomatic support has been echoed by the Group of Seven, the forum of highly industrialized nations, in a statement it issued on Ukraine. It said, in part:

Image: U.S. President Barack Obama shakes hands as he hosts a meeting with Ukraine Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk (L) in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington, March 12, 2014. REUTERS/Larry Downing