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Office of the Press Secretary
March 6, 2014
Statement by the Press Secretary on Ukraine

As President Obama has made clear, the United States is pursuing and reviewing a wide range of options in response to Russia’s ongoing violation of Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity – actions that constitute a threat to peace and security and a breach of international law, including Russia’s obligations under the UN Charter and of its 1997 military basing agreement with Ukraine, and that are inconsistent with the 1994 Budapest Memorandum and the Helsinki Final Act.
Pursuant to the President’s guidance, today the State Department is putting in place visa restrictions on a number of officials and individuals, reflecting a policy decision to deny visas to those responsible for or complicit in threatening the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine.  This new step stands in addition to the policy already implemented to deny visas to those involved in human rights abuses related to political oppression in Ukraine.
In addition, the President has signed an Executive Order that authorizes sanctions on individuals and entities responsible for activities undermining democratic processes or institutions in Ukraine; threatening the peace, security, stability, sovereignty, or territorial integrity of Ukraine; contributing to the misappropriation of state assets of Ukraine; or purporting to assert governmental authority over any part of Ukraine without authorization from the Ukrainian government in Kyiv.  This E.O. is a flexible tool that will allow us to sanction those who are most directly involved in destabilizing Ukraine, including the military intervention in Crimea, and does not preclude further steps should the situation deteriorate.
These actions build upon the previous actions the United States has taken, including suspending bilateral discussions with Russia on trade and investment; suspending other bilateral meetings on a case-by-case basis; putting on hold U.S.-Russia military-to-military engagement, including exercises, bilateral meetings, port visits, and planning conferences; and our agreement with G-7 nations to suspend for the time being our participation in activities associated with the preparation of the scheduled G-8 Summit in Sochi in June.  Depending on how the situation develops, the United States is prepared to consider additional steps and sanctions as necessary.
At the same time, as the President has said, we seek to work with all parties to achieve a diplomatic solution that de-escalates the situation and restores Ukraine’s sovereignty.  We call on Russia to take the opportunity before it to resolve this crisis through direct and immediate dialogue with the Government of Ukraine, the immediate pull-back of Russia’s military forces to their bases, the restoration of Ukraine’s territorial integrity, and support for the urgent deployment of international observers and human rights monitors who can assure that the rights of all Ukrainians are protected, including ethnic Russians, and who can support the Ukrainian government’s efforts to hold a free and fair election on May 25.
As we follow developments in Ukraine closely, the United States reaffirms its unwavering commitment to our collective defense commitments under the North Atlantic Treaty.  We will continue to pursue measures that reinforce those commitments, to include the provision of additional support to NATO’s Baltic Air Policing mission and our aviation detachment in Poland.
Open letter of Ukrainian Jews to Russian Federation President Vladimir Putin | Voices of Ukraine]
Open letter of Ukrainian Jews to Russian Federation President Vladimir Putin
*To the President of the Russian Federation Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin*
Mr. President!
We are Jewish citizens of Ukraine: businessmen, managers, public figures, scientists and scholars, artists and musicians. We are addressing you on behalf of the multi-national people of Ukraine, Ukraine’s national minorities, and on behalf of the Jewish community.
You have stated that Russia wants to protect the rights of the Russian-speaking citizens of the Crimea and all of Ukraine and that these rights have been trampled by the current Ukrainian government.
Historically, Ukrainian Jews are also mostly Russian-speaking. Thus, our opinion on what is happening carries no less weight than the opinion of those who advise and inform you.
We are convinced that you are not easily fooled. This means that you must be consciously picking and choosing lies and slander from the entire body of information on Ukraine. And you know very well that Victor Yanukovich’s statement used to describe the situation after the latest treaty had been signed – “…Kyiv is full of armed people who have begun to ransack buildings, places of worship, and churches. Innocent people are suffering.
People are being robbed and killed in the streets…” – is simply a lie, from the first word to the very last.
The Russian-speaking citizens of Ukraine are not being humiliated or discriminated against, their civil rights have not been infringed upon.
Meanderings about “forced Ukrainization” and “bans on the Russian language”
that have been so common in Russian media are on the heads of those who invented them. Your certainty about the growth of anti-Semitism in Ukraine, which you expressed at your press-conference, also does not correspond to the actual facts. Perhaps you got Ukraine confused with Russia, where Jewish organizations have noticed growth in anti-Semitic tendencies last year.
Right now, after Ukraine has survived a difficult political crisis, many of us have wound up on different sides of the barricades. The Jews of Ukraine, as all ethnic groups, are not absolutely unified in their opinion towards what is happening in the country. But we live in a democratic country and can afford a difference of opinion.
They have tried to scare us (and are continuing their attempts) with “Bandera followers” and “Fascists” attempting to wrest away the helm of Ukrainian society, with imminent Jewish pogroms. Yes, we are well aware that the political opposition and the forces of social protests who have secured changes for the better are made up of different groups. They include nationalistic groups, but even the most marginal do not dare show anti-Semitism or other xenophobic behavior. And we certainly know that our very few nationalists are well-controlled by civil society and the new Ukrainian government – which is more than can be said for the Russian neo-Nazis, who are encouraged by your security services.
We have a great mutual understanding with the new government, and a partnership is in the works. There are quite a few national minority representatives in the Cabinet of Ministers: the Minister of Internal Affairs is Armenian, the Vice Prime Minister is a Jew, two ministers are Russian. The newly-appointed governors of Ukraine’s region are also not exclusively Ukrainian.
Unfortunately, we must admit that in recent days stability in our country has been threatened. And this threat is coming from the Russian government, namely – from you personally. It is your policy of inciting separatism and crude pressure placed on Ukraine that threatens us and all Ukrainian people, including those who live in Crimea and the Ukrainian South-East.
South-eastern Ukrainians will soon see that for themselves.
Vladimir Vladimirovich, we highly value your concern about the safety and rights of Ukrainian national minorities. But we do not wish to be “defended” by sundering Ukraine and annexing its territory. We decisively call for you not to intervene in internal Ukrainian affairs, to return the Russian armed forces to their normal fixed peacetime location, and to stop encouraging pro-Russian separatism.
Vladimir Vladimirovich, we are quite capable of protecting our rights in a constructive dialogue and in cooperation with the government and civil society of a sovereign, democratic, and united Ukraine. We strongly urge you not to destabilize the situation in our country and to stop your attempts of delegitimizing the new Ukrainian government.
*Josef Zisels* Chairman of the Association of Jewish Communities and Organizations of Ukraine (VAAD) Ukraine, Executive Vice President of the Congress of National Communities of Ukraine
*Alexander Suslensky* D.Sc., Vice President of the Jewish Confederation of Ukraine, businessman
*Andrei Adamovsky* First Vice President of the Jewish Confederation of Ukraine, member of the “Hillel” Jewish Student organization Observation Council (citizen of Russia)
*Evgen Chervonenko* Vice President of the European Jewish Congress, businessman
*Rabbi Alex Dukhovny* Head Rabbi of the Ukrainian Progressive Judaism communities
*Rabbi Reuven Stamov* Head Rabbi of the Ukrainian Traditional Judaism communities
*Alexander Paskhaver* Member of the VAAD Ukraine Coordation Council, economist
*Leonid Finberg* Director of the NaUKMA Center for the Studies of History and Culture of Eastern European Jewry, VAAD Ukraine Vice Chairman
*Anatoliy Podolsky* Director of the Ukrainian Center for Holocaust Studies, Vice Chairman of VAAD Ukraine
*Igor Kuperberg* Chairman of the Zionist Federation of Ukraine, Vice Chairman of VAAD Ukraine
*Semen Belman* Vice President of the Jewish Council of Ukraine, President of the Chernigiv Jewish Community
*Alexander Gaidar* Leader of the Union of Ukrainian Progressive Judaism Religious Communities
*Vyacheslav Likhachev* CNCU Chief expert in monitoring and analysing xenophobia and anti-Semitism, member of the VAAD Ukraine Coordination Council(citizen of Russia and Israel)
*Michael Gold* Editor-in-chief of the VAAD Ukraine newspaper “Hadashot”
*Galina Haraz* Engineer (citizen of Ukraine and Israel)
*Igor Turov* PhD in history, Director of the Jewish Studies Certificate Program of VAAD Ukraine, VAAD Ukraine Presidium member
*Diana Gold* VAAD Ukraine Presidium member
*Alexander Roitburg* Artist
*Evgen Greben* Director of the “Maccabi” Jewish Cultural and Sports Society
*Grigoriy Pickman* “B’nei B’rith Leopolis” President
*Igor Kerez* VAAD Ukraine Trustee Board member, businessman
(Signatures still being collected)
*March 4, 2014*

Congressman Roskam –Statement
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE March 4, 2014              

CONTACT: Stephanie Kittredge, Meagan Holder  202-225-4561

Roskam: Russian Obstruction Should Not be Tolerated
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, Chief Deputy Whip Peter Roskam (R-IL) released the following statement on the Administration’s economic aid package for Ukraine and the need for America to stand with Ukraine in the face of Russian aggression.
“I have been gravely concerned about the actions Russia has taken to undermine Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity. It is past time for the Administration and our allies to put a stop to Vladimir Putin’s bullying. For too long, President Obama has been willing to overlook a worldwide pattern of bad behavior from Russia in the pursuit of an enigmatic reset.   The Administration has an opportunity to restore American credibility worldwide by taking an unequivocal stand against Russia’s unwarranted aggression which threatens regional stability and U.S. interests overseas.
“I welcome the economic aid package Secretary Lew announced today and look forward to working with my colleagues to put together further aid to Ukraine and sanctions to punish Russia. The US, and our European partners must exert the political and economic pressure to force the withdrawal of Russian troops from Crimea in order to give Ukrainians the ability to make needed democratic reforms and repair their economy without outside interference. We must reassure our friends in the region who want to engage more with the West, like Georgia and Moldova, that obstruction from Russia will not be tolerated.”



Асоціація Українських Правників Америки
Dear Victor Groszko,  
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
•        February 23rd 2014 repeal legislation
•        July 2012 Criticism of the 2012 legislation by Ukrainian scholars
•        Venice Commission report 2011
•        Venice Commission report 2012
•        Hon. Knut Vollebaek, High Commissioner on National Minorities with the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE)

Leading Broadcasters and Breaking News from Ukraine
Now Available by Mobile Phone in U.S. and England

Espreso.tv, UkrStream.tv, and Radio Svoboda offer real-time reporting from Kyiv

February 28, 2014 – Following weeks of upheaval in Ukraine, where violence and the ousting of President Viktor Yanukovych dominated international headlines and where independent Ukrainian media sources remain limited, three leading broadcasters announced today a partnership with AudioNow – the world’s leading call-to-listen provider – to expand the reach of their programs to Ukrainian diaspora.

Espreso.tv and UkrStream.tv, based in Kyiv, and Radio Svoboda, the Ukrainian-language broadcast of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, are now offering 24/7 reporting and news updates to mobile phones across the U.S. and U.K.
Radio Svoboda can now be heard from any mobile phone in the U.S. by calling 415.638.5770, and in the UK by calling  There is no cost for the call beyond mobile minutes.  As data costs continue to rise on mobile devices, call-to-listen technology is emerging as one of the most affordable ways for listeners to connect to their favorite broadcasters and organizations.
Established in 1954, Radio Svoboda/RFE is Ukraine’s most popular and trusted international broadcaster.   With a staff of 26 in Kyiv, dozens of stringers on the ground, and over 12 hours of daily programming, Editor in Chief Nedad Pejic remarked on the importance of providing news and information during the unrest.

“Our data says that United States is the second country, after Ukraine, to visit the site of RFE/RL in Ukrainian.  We registered 228,000 visits from United States in three days — from February 18th – February 21st. The diaspora audience needs to know that is happening and this is why this AudioNow platform is important to us,” said Pejic.

UkrStream.tv was created as an independent news source as the unrest began, by professional journalists in Ukraine who see a need for more unbiased reporting.  In the five weeks since its launch, the channel is reporting 20 million views from around the world.
“Our cameras operate 24 hours per day, and capture everything that happens on the Maidan Nezalezhnosti in Kyiv.   And you can listen to what happens on the stage on Maidan – the center of the Ukrainian civil protest,” said Timur Vasiljev, Co-founder of UkrStream.tv.  “It is very important to us for reach the diaspora and give the possibility to be in contact with the course of protests in every possible way.”

UkrStream.tv can be now heard by mobile phone in the U.S. on 712.432.7880, and in the UK on
Espreso.tv, founded in 2013, is a privately owned TV channel from Ukraine. The station’s goal is to act as a megaphone for the most current news in Ukraine, both inside the country and for Ukrainians living abroad.
“Espreso.tv aims to unite those who care about democratization of Ukraine.  Espreso.tv is dedicated to accurate and objective reporting of political, social, and cultural life, to discussions of nationally important issues and events, conducted by well known personalities,” says staffer Anna Patentna from Kyiv
Espreso.tv can be heard by mobile phone in the U.S. on 712.432.9775, and in the UK on
“As part of our mission to provide the hard-to-reach with universal access to important information, AudioNow is committed to connecting broadcasters in times of conflict to diaspora audiences eager for real-time news,” says George Cernat, Chief Marketing Officer of AudioNow. “We look to serve wherever there is a global crisis and bridge the digital divide.”

The complete listing of Ukrainian-language programming available immediately in the U.S. through AudioNow is as follows:

Radio Svoboda: 415.638.5770
Espreso.tv: 712.432.9775  
UkrStream.tv: 712.432.7880
For more information on AudioNow or the company’s work with broadcasters in Ukraine, please contact George Cernat at: george.cernat@audionow.com .
About AudioNow
AudioNow, based in Washington, DC, is the leading call-to-listen platform in the world. With broadcast partners on every continent, AudioNow extends the reach of radio by connecting mobile listeners to their favorite radio stations through a simple telephone call. The AudioNow platform uses proprietary “HD” voice design and patent-pending technology that serves all mobile platforms. AudioNow has more than 1,400 broadcast partners, including global leaders such as the United Nations, BBC, RFI, Voice of America, Entravision, C-SPAN and IMG College. In 2013 AudioNow delivered 2 billion listening minutes to its broadcast partners and connect users 84 million times to its platform. Visit www.audionow.com to learn more and register as a broadcaster.