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ICSU Statement on the Escalating Crisis in Ukraine

TORONTO, ONTARIO -- (Marketwired) -- 12/06/13 -- Background

While the OSCE member states met on December 4 to 5 in Kyiv under the chairmanship of Ukraine, the political crisis in the country continued to escalate. Sparked by President Yanukovych's abandonment of the EU-Ukraine Association Agreement, mass demonstrations have continued throughout Ukraine, supported by rallies of solidarity in numerous cities in Canada, the US, Europe and Australia.

Ukraine's path toward full membership in the EU began in 1998 under President Leonid Kuchma, was expanded after the Orange Revolution by President Viktor Yushchenko, and further pursued by the current president, Viktor Yanukovych with the full support of the parliamentary opposition.

President Yanukovych's abrupt decision to suspend the signing of the trade association agreement with the EU is viewed by Ukrainian citizens as a violation of the Ukrainian constitution. They see this as a betrayal of Ukraine's European aspirations that jeopardizes Ukraine's national interests.

The ongoing mass demonstrations based on non-violent civil disobedience are aimed at expelling what is perceived to be a corrupt governing elite. Ukraine's political opposition has demanded the resignation of Ukraine's president and the country's government, and are pressing for new pre-term parliamentary and presidential elections.

Ukraine's three former presidents - Leonid Kravchuk, Leonid Kuchma and Viktor Yushchenko - have declared their solidarity with the pro-European demonstrations.

The Russian Factor

A major factor fomenting the crisis are the actions exerted on the Ukrainian president and government by Putin's Russia through economic blackmail, trade blockades, sanctions on exports, and threats of cutting off gas and oil supplies.

Vladimir Putin is intent on forcing Ukraine into a Russian-dominated Eurasian Union, where the Kremlin, and not Ukraine, sets the rules. Ukraine's proposed entry into the EU would constitute a fatal blow to Putin's dream of a renewed Russian Empire.

Putin's recent appointment of Vladislav Surkov, the vice-chair of his administration, to be in charge of Russia-Ukraine relations signals the start of an aggressive campaign to further destabilize the current situation in Ukraine.

Surkov has earned an odious reputation in Russia, having masterminded the massive frauds in the recent elections to the Russian Duma and having orchestrated the violent repressions of democratic civic organizations and peaceful public protests in Moscow.

ICSU Position

The ICSU condemns the brutal suppression of peaceful protestors in Kyiv by the police and the special Berkut riot militia and demands that those responsible be punished. We call on the government to cease and desist from the use of force and for the demonstrators to make every effort to avoid falling victim to provocations.

The ICSU calls upon the OSCE member states to condemn the aggressive harassment and intimidation perpetrated by Putin's Russia through economic pressures, threats and blackmail exerted on Ukraine to prevent its signing of the Association Agreement with the EU.

The ICSU urges the European Parliament, the parliaments and governments of EU member states, Canada, the US and Australia to condemn Russia's violation of the 1993 Tripartite international agreement guaranteeing Ukraine's independence and security and non-interference in its internal affairs. These were inviolable commitments made to Ukraine by the Russian Federation and the United States as a precondition to Ukraine's decision to relinquish its nuclear weapons arsenal.

The ICSU urges President Yanukovych to heed the call by the EU's special envoy to meet with the political opposition in order to bring an end to the crisis.

The ICSU urges Ukraine's president to accept the invitation from the President of the European Commission and immediately request that the EU-Ukraine summit be reconvened with the aim of finalizing the signing of the association agreement with the EU.

The International Council in Support of Ukraine (ICSU) was established in 1967 as a coordinating body of Ukrainian organizations in the Free World whose main goal was the restoration of an indivisible, independent and democratic Ukrainian state that briefly existed after WW I and was proclaimed at the outset of WW II. These acts of self-determination and national emancipation included a protracted struggle against both Nazi and Soviet occupiers. The ICSU's first two presidents were survivors of Nazi concentration camps at Auschwitz and Sachsenhausen.

Contacts:
ICSU
Yuri Shymko
Former Canadian MP
(416) 658-4066
yurishymko@rogers.com

ICSU
Borys Potapenko
President Secretary
(586) 216-3798
boryspotapenko@gmail.com

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