Lies, Lies, & More Lies: The Speech of the US Ambassador in Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch at the “Ukrainian Leadership Academy”

Translated by Ollie Richardson & Angelina Siard

11:50:09
29/01/2019

strana.ua

The US Ambassador in Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch said who the United States will support in the upcoming presidential elections, and at the same time named three priorities that are major for Ukrainians.

“Who does the United States support in the upcoming elections? So I don’t think you are going to be surprised when I tell you – we support the Ukrainian people. We have stood by you, shoulder to shoulder, through 27 years of independence, five years of revolution and war. Your goals are our priorities. Because a stable, economically strong, democratic and inclusive Ukraine – which is what I think all of you probably want for Ukraine – that kind of a country will make a strong and self-sufficient partner for the United States”

said the ambassador

Answering this question, the ambassador offered a reminder about the three priorities that, according to results of polls, are the most major for Ukrainians: the end of the conflict in the East, economic welfare, and honest governance.

Speaking about the very first priority – the achievement of peace in the East of Ukraine – the US Ambassador noted that there is no military solution to the conflict with Russia. The only way is the political way, and the cornerstone of this strategy is the Minsk Agreements.

“Some skeptics, and I know there are many, say the Minsk Agreements can’t work, because Russia is not fulfilling its commitment to respect Ukraine’s territorial integrity. We hope one day Russia will fulfill those commitments. However, because Russia is not fulfilling those commitments, we have been able – and when I say ‘we,’ the international community, the U.S., the EU, and other likeminded countries – have been able to impose, maintain, and strengthen sanctions against Russia.These sanctions exact a serious cost for Russia’s ongoing violation of Ukraine’s sovereignty. Rejecting the Minsk Agreements approach would mean rejecting our ability to impose significant economic consequences on Russia, an important tool in influencing Moscow’s behavior”

stressed the diplomat

The second important priority for Ukrainians is economic welfare.

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Despite having rich resources, Ukraine could prosper, but, at the same time, in the opinion of Yovanovitch, it is constrained “by the old oligarchical system that still clings to life. And corruption is its life support”.

The country needs serious reforms that can create an economic boom and improve the everyday life of every citizen, similar to what happened, for example, in Poland. If the acceleration of reforms is the result of future elections, then an improvement of welfare will soon come, assures the US Ambassador.

“I know that reforms are not always popular – and for many Ukrainians they have been painful. But reversing the reform process will not bring greater prosperity. What’s making – this is kind of counterintuitive – but what’s making the lives of Ukrainians difficult is not the reforms, but the fact that more reforms are still needed. Reforms still need to be completed [regarding] the continuation of the old economic ways, particularly pervasive corruption, that have kept Ukraine too poor, for too long”

she noted

The third priority is governance that respects the law and democratic freedoms. Including the right to free, fair elections.

“As the presidential elections season moves forward, we in the U.S. share the expectations of the Ukrainian people. That ‘titushki’ won’t be a part of those elections, that campaigns’ staff should not be worried about getting beaten up or harassed, that money doesn’t buy votes in the villages, that disinformation is not used by the Russians or any other candidates to undermine the truth. And that full participation by all Ukrainian citizens is facilitated”

said Yovanovitch

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