Impose further punitive sanctions on the Russian Federation

Impose further punitive sanctions on the Russian Federation

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Kateryna Minkina started this petition to President of the United States and

The Ukrainian Fulbright scholars and alumni, Ukrainian alumni of other United States Department of State exchange programs  (UGRAD, Open World, UBL PIE, PFP, IVLP, FLEX, Returned Peace Corps Volunteer of Ukraine and others), as well as their colleagues worldwide, kindly ask the United States of America to impose further punitive sanctions on the Russian Federation, its president Vladimir Putin, members of The Federal Assembly (DUMA), as well as personal sanctions on Russian oligarchs and their families, and other stakeholders who make or implement decisions which violate the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine and violate the Minsk II Agreement.

We are grateful for the great support the US have provided Ukraine and encourage the American government to continue engagement with European allies over Nord Stream 2 to ensure that the ban on the Russian gas pipeline remains permanent, and to continue the discussion on cutting off Russia from the SWIFT system.

Ukraine is a sovereign, democratic and independent state. Defending the territorial integrity of Ukraine should remain a priority for the United States because the regime of Vladimir Putin threatens not only to dissolve Ukraine, but to undermine democracy itself and to reorganize the post-World War II order. Indeed, the invasion of Ukraine, disguised under the proposed “peacekeeping mission” to occupied Eastern Ukraine,  threatens European and global security, specifically the security structure following World War II and the Cold War. 

The specter of totalitarianism looms over Europe once again. Vladimir Putin’s tirades reveal that he respects no boundary save those set by his own militaristic ambitions. The limited sanctions imposed in 2014, following the annexation of Crimea and Russian state support for armed separatists in Eastern Ukraine did not have the full desired effect of preventing the regime of Vladimir Putin from further hostilities. Let the United States take a strong, leading stance against Russian aggression. Only swift and severe sanctions will influence Vladimir Putin’s final decision this time, and prevent a disastrous campaign against the Ukrainian people. These sanctions must be imposed before Vladimir Putin moves deeper into Ukrainian territory. Thousands of innocent Ukrainian lives are at stake. Surely, sanctions will provide little solace to the residents of Kyiv, Kharkiv, Dnipro, Odesa, or Kherson if the bombs have already begun to fall on their homes. Beyond international law, memorandums, and treaties, we emphasize that this aggression has already taken and will take the lives of people who are willing to stand for their country. Decisive actions against Russian aggression are the only instrument that can bring Ukrainian sons and daughters back home alive and well.

We write as proud recipients of awards intended to strengthen the bonds of trust between our great nations. The whole world looks to the United States of America as a beacon of liberty and democracy. The world will watch how the United States – as the leader of the Democratic World – stands with a democratic Ukraine and its citizens when confronted with authoritarian Russian adversaries threatening those ideals.

The United States provided security assurances to Ukraine in 1994 by signing the Budapest Memorandum. Then, Ukraine gave up its nuclear weapon which was the third largest arsenal in the world at that time. In exchange, the U.S., U.K., and the Russian Federation committed to protecting and defending the independence and sovereignty of Ukraine, which includes both the Luhansk and Donetsk regions, as well as the Crimean Peninsula. 

Russia started the invasion of Ukraine in 2014, annexing the Crimean Peninsula and occupying territory in the Donetsk and Luhansk regions of Eastern Ukraine. Since the unlawful invasion in 2014, many Ukrainians, including participants and alumni of U.S. exchange programs, have lost their homes, friends, and relatives. But these are not Vladimir Putin’s only crimes. In fact, what Vladimir Putin has done to Ukraine is only a repeat of what he did to Georgia in 2008, and indeed to many other countries over the last thirty years. As the current conflict has proven, the Russian Government will not stop unless there is a consolidated response from all nations that do not share Russia's predilection for authoritarianism, reactionism, and expansionism. We urge the United States of America to lead this response. 

When we received the opportunity to participate in the U.S. Department of State-funded programs to study, conduct research, and take part in professional development programs, we became ambassadors of our respective countries, sharing our culture and values with our friends and colleagues in our host nation. Our experiences of being Ukrainian in the U.S., or an American in Ukraine, give us pride and perspective on our home, and home-away-from-home.

As such, we turn to the United States of America for support in defense of Ukraine, its independence, and democracy against the aggressive actions of Russia, a signatory of that treaty, and a nation that has blatantly and repeatedly violated international law as well as its own treaty commitments.

During this crucial moment, we bear in mind that our greatest strength comes from our relationships to one another. It is for this reason that we call on you to act. Stand with Ukraine in this tense time! Reinforce your support for liberty and democracy!

The opinions and views expressed in this petition are solely those of the authors and do not necessarily represent those of the Fulbright Program, any affiliated institutions, or other alumni.

*Poster by Mykyta Titov

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