THE BEST WAYS TO HELP UKRAINE

28.04.16


The AMERICAN INTEREST.  BATTLE FOR UKRAINE

The Best Ways to Help Ukraine

DAVID J. KRAMER

Scrap the Minsk agreement, hold the line on sanctions on Russia, and keep pressuring Ukraine’s leaders to clean up corruption.

The Ukrainian people have made tremendous sacrifices over the past two years, including more than a hundred killed during the Maidan revolution in 2014 and nearly 10,000 killed fending off Vladimir Putin’s invading forces in eastern Ukraine. They have endured disappointment with their own leaders and frustration with the West, which, Ukrainians believe, has fallen short in providing the support their country needs.

Twice in the past 12 years, Ukrainians formed massive protests against corruption and authoritarianism. The first time was in 2004 against efforts by then Prime Minister Viktor Yanukovych to steal the presidential election. The second time came in 2013–14 over then-President Yanukovych’s massive corruption and reversal under Russian pressure to sign agreements with the European Union. No other country in the world can match what the Ukrainian people have done in the past dozen years.

The people of Ukraine deserve full Western support. Accordingly, Western leaders need to reassure them that sanctions against the Putin regime will remain in place as long as Russian continues to violate Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity. The United States and European Union also need to adopt a tough-love approach with Ukrainian leaders to make clear that failure to deal with corruption will come at a price.

Keep Sanctions but Bury Minsk

"Sanctions on Russia can and should only be lifted once Russia fully complies with its commitments under the Minsk [peace] agreement,” President Obama said during an April 24 news conference in Hannover, Germany. German Chancellor Angela Merkel echoed Obama’s call for unity between the European Union and the United States against Russia’s ongoing aggression in Ukraine. “We stand by the agreement of Minsk and put a lot of importance on its implementation as soon as possible,” she said. “We still have no stable ceasefire and we must advance on the political process, and we discussed in detail the next steps needed.”

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