Ukraine is not begging, but we need allies

Украина не просит милостыню, но нам нужны союзники

Pavlo Klimkin

Article of Russian Minister of foreign Affairs of Ukraine for The New York Times

For two years after the revolution of dignity, Ukraine as a country has achieved much greater success than at any time since the proclamation of independence in 1991. We finally began to seriously fight corruption and conducted a series of reforms that will help the state function better. In our economy, two consecutive years of decline, but now we expect it will start to grow again. All that we have achieved in extremely difficult conditions, when there is a Russian-led war that claimed thousands of lives, when Russia occupied the Crimean Peninsula, and when the Donbass is destroying our economy.

However, Ukraine continues to go on his way, striving to become a democratic, just and prosperous state at the gates of Europe. For this idea during the Maidan revolution in early 2014 has killed many of my countrymen — and continue to die defending our country from Russia.

Our achievements over the past two years would not have been possible without hard work, without sacrifice of the people and, most importantly, without the unwavering support from our foreign partners. The partnership and support of the European Union is very important. But Ukraine has no better friend or more loyal ally than the United States. Without the tremendous support which continues to give us the America we would not have achieved such progress, which we speak today. And now this continued support becomes more important than ever.

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During the election campaign Donald trump many times to mention Ukraine, and said a lot of things that relates to my country. He also told memorable phrase that would like the United States “got along with Russia,” noting that it would be “cool”.

I agree with Mr. trump. For the future of our world and our children we must all wish for better relations between the United States and Russia. But such a relationship cannot be built to the detriment of Ukraine, the rest of Europe and to American interests.

I grew up in the Soviet Union, dominated by Russia. I still understand the Russian mind and way of thinking of the Kremlin leaders. Understanding these things, the politicians and diplomats often repeated the same phrase: “Russia respects only force.”

In a similar way, the electoral platform of the Republican party in 2016, promised “peace through strength”. This is extremely important in today’s dangerous world. When we are dealing with the Kremlin, a peaceful outcome is possible only if we negotiate from a position of strength.

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The Minsk agreement concluded in 2014 and 2015 with foreign partners, was to put an end to the war in the Donbass in Eastern Ukraine, where Russia continues to wage hybrid war, involving thousands of Russian soldiers and their henchmen, as well as tanks and other military equipment. Russia and its puppets constantly ignore the Minsk agreement. After signing them killed almost 10 thousand Ukrainians both military and civilians. the War in the Donbass would be over tomorrow, if Russia complied with the conditions of the Minsk agreements and made it possible to hold free local elections with the participation of foreign observers in order to restore democratic procedures in the region. Of course, Mr. trump understands the importance of a free electoral system.

Igniting a war against Ukraine, Russia illegally annexed the Crimea under the false pretext that he was originally part of Russia. But it’s not. This is sovereign territory of the state, where 25 years ago, more than 90 percent voted for independence. Those sham elections which were subsequently held in Crimea Moscow, in order to justify their actions are considered fraudulent, and the international community does not recognize them.

While Russia will not stop their destructive actions in my country, the international community should not lift sanctions. They cause Russia to a greater extent than it recognizes the Kremlin. This is probably the only thing that is at least partly hinders Russia. The administration of the trump and the U.S. Congress needs to recognize this and to advocate for tougher sanctions until Russia withdraws from Crimea and Donbass.

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Trump holds the post of leader of the free world during a critical period. After the British referendum on leaving the EU is the election trump was a watershed moment not only for US but for the entire world. The old order in which “elite” could manage as if by birthright, today destroyed. Residents are increasingly involved and vote for change. The response to our people’s interests is a difficult task for those of us who today wants to stay in power.

Mr. trump said that the United States cannot assume the entire burden of support of such countries as Ukraine. I agree, and our government is working with European partners to stand firm. But Ukraine is not begging. My compatriots are dying daily. They die defending not only Ukraine, but also universal democratic values and freedoms that Ukrainians of the road is exactly the same as the Americans.

I hope that under President trump not only the United States but the whole world will get strong leadership. I also hope that Ukraine will preserve his faithful friend and ally, to whom we are so grateful to the adulthood of our democracy.

Pavlo Klimkin

The Independent

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