“These are challenging times for the people of Ukraine,” said U.S. Assistant Secretary of European and Eurasian Affairs Vitoria Nuland. “What began on November 24th as a protest against Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovich’s decision to pause on the route to Europe has become much deeper and bigger.” Condemning the violent crackdown by Ukrainian security forces on November 30th, Assistant Secretary Nuland said that after that, “the movement also became about justice and civil rights and Ukrainians’ desire to have a government that respects them, that listens to them, that protects them, and that provides for them a modern democratic government.”
“Throughout this period, the United States’ message has been clear and unequivocal,” said Ms. Nuland. “We stand with the people of Ukraine in their search for justice, human dignity, security, a return to economic health, and for the European future they have chosen and they deserve.”
The U.S. has made clear to the Ukrainian government that the use of force against peaceful protesters is “absolutely impermissible” in a democratic state. But the United States believes there is a way out for Ukraine that it is still possible to save Ukraine’s European future.
This will require immediate steps to deescalate the security situation and immediate political steps to end the crisis and get back into a conversation with Europe and International Monetary Fund, or IMF.
Ukraine’s economy is in dire straits having suffered a recession for more than a year. These reforms are necessary for the long-term health of the country. A new deal with the IMF would also send a positive signal to private markets and would increase foreign direct investment that is so urgently needed in Ukraine. “Signing the Association Agreement with the EU,” said Ms. Nuland, “would put Ukraine on the path to strengthening the sort of stable and predictable business environment that investors require. There is no other path that would bring Ukraine back to long-term political stability and economic growth.”
Today there are senior officials in the Ukrainian government, in the business community, as well as in the opposition, civil society and religious community who believe in this democratic and European future for their country and they’ve been working hard to move their country and their president in the right direction.
“We urge the government, we urge the president to listen to these voices,” said Assistant Secretary Nuland, “to listen to the Ukrainian people, to listen to the Euro-Maidan and take Ukraine forward.”