Projects

2019 CUSUR CALENDAR
 
Upcoming Events 2019
US-UA Security Dialogue X
Washington, DC
February 28, 2019
 
UA HES Special Event:
Sobornist' at 100
Ukrainian Museum
May 4, 2019   
 
US-UA BNS Special Event
Washington DC
May 23, 2019
 
US-UA WG Yearly Summit VI
Washington, DC
June 13, 2019

US-UA Energy Dialogue VI
Kyiv, Ukraine
August 29, 2019 
 
UA HES Special Event:
UA-AM Community at 125
Princeton Club/NY
September 21, 2019 
 
UA QUEST RT XX
Washington, DC
October 10, 2019
 
UA HES Forum VII:
LT-PL-UA Relations
Chicago
November 9, 2019   
 

Read more...
 
CUSUR 2016 - Project I
US-UA “Working Group” Initiative

The US-Ukraine “Working Group” Initiative was launched in 2007 in order to secure an array of experts in "areas of interest” for CUSUR and its various forums/proceedings; at the same time, it was hoped that the ‘experts’ might agree to write a series of ‘occasional papers’ to identify “major issues” impacting on US-Ukrainian relations.
Read more...
 
CUSUR 2017 - Project II
Publication Efforts

Recognizing the urgent need to set up proper channels for the maximum circulation of the information/analysis CUSUR possessed or had at its disposal, the Center long focused on having ‘a publication presence’ of some form or another.
Read more...
 
CUSUR 2018 - Project III
DC Occasional Briefings Series

CUSUR did not turn its attention to having a DC presence until summer 2012. Borrowing space when the need arose (particularly for various forum steering committees meetings) from the American Foreign Policy Council, its longest abiding partner, seemed to suffice; an Acela ride from the Center’s NY office did the rest. If there was a concern, it was to open an office in Kyiv.
Read more...
 
US-Ukraine Relations and the War Against Terrorism

Ukraine's Quest for Mature Nation Statehood Roundtable II:
"Taking Measure of a US-Ukraine Strategic Partnership"

US-Ukraine Relations and the War Against Terrorism

Carlos Pascual

Featured remarks by Carlos Pascual, Unites States Ambassador to Ukraine, delivered during the Conference “Ukraine’s Quest for Mature Nation Statehood – Roundtable II: Taking Measure of a U.S./Ukraine Strategic Partnership”.

Thank you very much. I feel very at home looking around the audience and seeing so many friends from Ukraine, so many friends from the United States, and it is extremely pleasant to be here and share this time with you.

I hope you are not too asleep. I know I catch you at the end of a long conference and long period of time, and hopefully I will be able to provide some thought-provoking reflections on some of the things happening in Ukraine right now and the war against terrorism.

I want to make one public service announcement for myself and Steve Pifer. There is an article that we have written looking back on the past ten years of Ukraine. We had provided some copies earlier. I don’t know if any are left. The reason I draw it to your attention is because for any of you who have worked in the U.S. Government, you know what it takes to get an article published. You have to clear it through just about every single person you can imagine in the government. And so that article is indeed an official statement of US Government policy toward Ukraine right now. For a broader view of U.S. views toward Ukraine, I would encourage you to take a look at that. The Washington Quarterly will be publishing that at the end of November. The RT Steering Committee have very courteously allowed us to share an advance copy with you today.

On September 12th, as I left the embassy, I looked behind me and what I could see was a wall of flowers. And in that wall of flowers were small votive candles all along the fence that had been lit by ordinary people or guards. This is a statement of sympathy, a feeling that a tremendous tragedy had occurred, and that this tragedy was obviously directed against America, but it was a tragedy against the civilized world, because people could not imagine the inhumanity that could drive such an act.

It was the act of these simple people that so deeply touched everybody who could see their emotion that was expressed in very simple ways. I am not an expert on counter terrorism. But what I can do today, and what I will try to do, is talk about some of the mood that we see in Ukraine, some of the actions that Ukraine has taken to join the International Coalition Against Terrorism, and to try to share with you some of the questions and issues that repeatedly get raised with me in Ukraine. To give you a sense of how Ukraine is struggling with this question now.

I began already with a mood. It was really an incredible outpouring of human sentiment. Thousands of people throughout the country came to sign condolence books, sent letters, made phone calls – a man from here calling and saying: “I have a unique type of blood. How can I donate it?”, man from Lviv saying: “I am a firefighter. How can I volunteer my help?”, a man from Kyiv saying: “I am a specialist in treating burns. What can I do to volunteer and how can I help?” There is a sense that people wanted to give of themselves because a tremendous violation had occurred against all of us. Since then there have been numerous memorial concerts. I was particularly struck by one organized by musicians, just a group of musicians, who decided to have an event because they felt that at 40 days after this tragedy, that they needed to commemorate in some way. And so these musicians came together in a church and quietly had a ceremony of music to show their empathy and their concern.

Within the government, the response was almost immediate. About two hours or so after we had understood the tragic events that were unfolding, I called the Minister of Interior and he said, “We have already increased the police presence around the Embassy.” They immediately increased the security around all American facilities. They increased security around American businesses, particularly high profile businesses.

The next morning the Foreign Minister came with the entire senior team of the Foreign Ministry of the Embassy to express their condolences. The following day President Kuchma invited me to his office to talk about the tragedy and how Ukraine can be supportive, and the kinds of things that Ukraine can commit to the International Coalition.

The Chairman of the National Security and Defense Council sat down with us and reviewed strategic issues internally within Ukraine on how Ukraine was trying to enhance its own security. The leaders of the RADDA expressed their concern individually and in groups, reaching out to say that ‘we are with the United States in this endeavor.’

And this tragedy, in a sense, was an awakening, a rude awakening, that terrorism is a force that knows no barriers, that it has no boundaries, that it has no values, and that it can strike anywhere. In Ukraine, President Bush’s statement has I think struck a real chord and that is that countries are either with the civilized world or they are against it. And as a result of that, I think, many, many people in Ukraine have been re-evaluating Ukraine’s position in the world, and the policies that it pursues to integrate with the international community and the Euro-Atlantic community. I think that there has been a reaffirming of commitment to integration and that there have been practical steps taken to confirm that commitment.

There are other things that we need to watch carefully. Herman’s warning is a very important one. In any society, at times like this, there can be authoritarian tendencies. And it needs to be very clear that fighting terrorism is never a rationale in any society to crack down on societal freedoms. And it is also important to make very clear that a strong stance on anti-terrorism is not a bridge over some path around the kind of political and economic reforms that are necessary to become a prosperous state.

Yesterday you heard from Prime Minister Kinakh, who was unequivocal, and who said that economic reform and political openness must go hand in hand, because only when the two of these come together can you really get a prosperous society.

Earlier on Secretary Powell talked about how the war against terrorism must be a multi-faceted war. That yes, there may be a military component, but it is much broader than that, that it is diplomatic, that it involves financial actions, the sharing of intelligence, law enforcement, humanitarian activities. Let me take a moment to talk about some of the actions that Ukraine has been taking on those various fronts, starting with the diplomatic. I see my friend Ihor Kharchenko, the Deputy Foreign Minister, and I want to draw particular attention to Ihor, because he has been a point person in the Foreign Ministry on the coordination of counter terrorism activities, and has been a constant and daily partner on this activities.

Beginning even on September 11th, Ukraine was a partner in drawing together an international coalition by playing a crucial role in moving forward U.N. Security Council Resolution 1368.There is a piece of this that Ukraine supported and advanced, and I want to read it, because I think it is particularly important. The resolution calls on all states to work together urgently to bring justice to the perpetrators, organizers, and sponsors of these terrorist acts, and stresses that those responsible for aiding, supporting, or harboring the perpetrators, organizers and sponsors of these acts will be held accountable.

In other words, Ukraine early on, immediately recognized that the war against terrorism needed to be properly pursued thru U.N. Security Council Resolution 1373, which focused on financial actions. It was also very active vis-a-vis NATO. In September, Ukraine and NATO issued a joint statement, and again I will read a short piece of that. ‘NATO and Ukraine condemn in the strongest possible terms these atrocities, and stand united in their commitment to ensure that those responsible are brought to justice and punished. In the spirit of its distinctive partnership with NATO, Ukraine stands ready to contribute fully to this effort.’That was an particularly important statement because Ukraine indicated that this former enemy now is a friend and they were united together in a common international cause.

Ukraine has also taken important actions in the context of GUUAM, making strong statements against terrorism and now preparing a much more detailed agenda for further action. And in fact I think next week in Central Europe, Poland will host a conference on bringing together the Central European nations to develop a common agenda against terrorism.

And throughout this, what we have seen is that Ukraine has recognized that there must be an international movement to combat terrorism, that it needs to be a part of that international movement, and that international movement is critical to strip away assets from terrorists to ensure that terrorists have no safe haven, to make it impossible for terrorists to travel freely, and to isolate the countries who support terrorists.

Sometimes people ask "what is it that diplomacy can contribute"? These are real contributions and Ukraine has been at the heart of those contributions. On the financial side, Ukraine has acted very much lock and step with the United States. After the United States issued its executive orders identifying organizations and individuals who have been known to be associated with terrorist activities, the National Bank of Ukraine took those executive orders and converted them to its own executive orders, which it issued to commercial banks throughout Ukraine, ordering them to freeze the assets of any entities that are associated with that list of 57 names, which have been provided in our two executive orders.

On October 20th President Kuchma called together many of the country’s leading financial experts to discuss how to combat money laundering. And as a result of that there was a unanimous resolution that the leadership in Ukraine needs to move forward with a bill to combat money laundering. An important action was taken withdrawing a bill that was in the Rada which had serious flaws, to in fact revise it, make it stronger, close the loopholes, and ensure that the bill was structured in a way that would allow Ukraine to cooperate with international partners. And that process of revising the legislation is going on right now, and we hope to see it introduced sometime soon.

In addition to that, Ukraine has also been sharing with us information on potentially suspicious financial transactions, allowing us to exchange information back and forth, so that if we see issues that are indeed suspicious or dangerous, we can help the law enforcement officials in Ukraine target those activities.

On our side we have committed to provide assistance to the National Bank of Ukraine and its endeavors to implement these executive orders. We have been providing comments on money laundering, anti-money laundering legislation to help it be consistent with international standards. And we have committed to Ukraine that if this money laundering legislation passes that we will work with them on implementing a financial intelligence unit which is critical to in fact enforce an anti-money laundering regime.

But all of us need to be aware of a particular challenge. All of you have heard different estimates of how much Ukraine’s economy is in the gray sector. Some say 40%, others say up to 60%. The point of this is that the very techniques that people use to circumvent taxes are exactly the same techniques that organized crime and money launderers use. and in an environment where there may be billions of dollars operating in this gray sector, identifying and isolating those funds that are associated with terrorism is going to be hard. And so we all need to lend our creativity to this challenge. And in fact I would extent to any of you, if you have thoughts on how we can proceed on this front, we need your suggestions.

On the intelligence side, I would say that the cooperation that we’ve seen with the SBU has been unprecedented. Obviously, because these are intelligence issues, I am not going to go into detail. But what I can say is that there is a newfound willingness to provide one another with leads on potentially dangerous activities, provide each other with leads on critical information, and as a result of that we are building a better understanding of how terrorist networks operate. What it means to conduct mutual rapid checks of suspicious activities, and how to be able to help one another in an emergency.

On the law enforcement front, I have mentioned already the extensive help that we’ve gotten at the Embassy. Ukraine has started to focus in addition to that, real attention on its borders. It has increased the presence of customs officials and border guards. It has put in place additional mobile patrols that are operating between border checkpoints. It has added canine units on many border points. The U.S. has committed to help. We are working on a program that will deliver mobile detection equipment that will allow the Ukrainian customs authorities to be able to look at large vehicles that are transiting border points without in fact having them to completely unload. We have been providing radiation detection equipment. We have been looking at providing some facilities that could help facilitate collocation with the Moldavian authorities on the Transdnestrian Border and the Moldavian Border.

We are looking at another project which can provide a technology of checking passports and other information as people cross border points that would automatically feed that information into capitals and into Odessa, and become the basis for a much larger EU project.

What is still somewhat of a problematic point is the Russian Border. I think, Constantine...correct me if I’m wrong, the border points are approximately 20 kilometers apart on the Russian Border. It is a long distance. It is porous. Everybody acknowledges it. It is a risk. Ukraine needs help on this issue. We have begun to look at it. It is something which we will certainly be discussing with the European Union, when we get back we hope to have a more extensive conversation about this in Kyiv.

On the military and humanitarian front, Ukraine has provided blanket clearance for over flight of military transport aircraft. These are the transport aircraft that are bringing in the humanitarian rations into Afghanistan. Ukraine has allowed for three emergency landing fields. Ukraine has expressed a specific interest in trying to cooperate with the United States in helping Uzbekistan, one of its partners in GUUAM, given the especially difficult situation that Uzbekistan faces today. Right after the tragedy on September 11th Ukraine offered to the United States a mobile hospital, which tragically we were not able to use....not because we didn’t want to, but in fact, because the main problem was that there were so many people who simply died in this tragedy that our hospitals could in fact cope with us, and in that the mobile hospital was not needed. Ukraine has offered humanitarian aid to Uzbekistan, particularly with the provision of wheat seeds. And overall, I think what we have seen in Ukraine is a country that is serious about its international obligations, and that it is acting on them.

Now let me discuss some of the key questions that I consistently get in Ukraine about the war on terrorism and the International Coalition.

The first is on Afghanistan, Afghanistan’s future and the impact on civilians. The government has been extremely supportive of the military campaign. In public opinion there is probably a 50/50 split in polls that I have seen. Some people ask why. I think one of the things that Ukraine lives with is the memory of the past and the tragic Soviet legacy within Afghanistan, and the fact that so many Ukrainians were involved in this quagmire and so it makes them scared about what they see and they wonder how the United States is going to cope with this situation.

There are several points that I think are important to state. One is that in this military action the United States is not targeting civilians. It is a tragedy when civilians are killed, but we are not targeting civilians and that makes a complete distinction from what the terrorists have done. We also need to remember that we are beyond the Cold War. In that Cold War the United States and the Soviet Union were enemies. We tried to undermine each other and we have an opportunity today to cooperate in ways where we use our resources to actually build democracy and prosperity in the Afghanistan in the long-term, rather than use them to in effect tear apart the state in a way that was a consequence of a global rivalry between two super powers.

What we hope for Afghanistan is that the Afghan people have the opportunity to define their future. The Taliban certainly has not been representative of the Afghan people. President Bush has indicated that we will work with other countries, with the United Nations, and that the United Nations will play a key role in this long-term effort and we will support it.

This is of intense interest to Ukraine’s neighbors, because it will affect their democracy and their stability. It is of intense interest to Ukraine, because what we have seen is that Ukraine has become a transit point for drugs, many of those drugs coming from Afghanistan. The second question I get asked is about the tragic accident on October 4th, with the downing of the Siberian Airlines TU154 plane, and how this plays into the context of the international fight against terrorism. This accident came at a terrible time, a time when there was tremendous tension in the international community and in the Middle East. And indeed, the slow pace of accepting responsibility for these actions was problematic, and for some people it began to raise questions about whether there was a return to the past of a tragic past where accidents simply were not acknowledged.

Accidents occur. In the meeting which Secretary Powell had with Prime Minister Kinakh, he told about his experience when he was National Security Advisor in 1988, and how the United States shot down an Iranian Airbus. Within a short period of time the United States acknowledged its fault for that. And indeed what we have seen in the past week or so have been some very constructive actions on Ukraine’s part: a strong apology from President Kuchma, acceptance of resignation of those military officials who were responsible, a strong call for civilian control of the military. Prime Minister Kinakh, in his discussions here, has focused on the problem. He says that there is still too much of a Soviet mentality, that it needs to grow out of the old generations, because there is still too much of a tendency to make excuses, and not enough of a tendency to immediately accept responsibility, and that this is one of Ukraine’s challenges indeed for the future.

A third issue, a philosophical question that often gets raised, as a result of this tragedy: Does this mean that there is evil in the world? And this particularly was focused on in Ukraine at the end of September at the 60th Anniversary – anniversary is the wrong word, the 60th Commemoration of the tragedies at Babyn Yar when over 100,000 people were assassinated. Minister Tarasyuk and I were sitting next to each other, in fact at a television program sponsored by 1+1. In that program, one of the things that came out is that the German people are not evil people. The German people are good people. But sometimes good people can be manipulated by misguided leaders. Sometimes it can happen in the name of religion. Sometimes it can happen simply out of arrogance and sometimes it can happen in the name of nationalism. All this is misguided. And we need to make clear matters in reference to the war on terrorism. We are not talking about a war on religion. It’s not a war on race. It’s not a war on ethnicity. It is a reality that occurs because of human frailty; in reality, there are individuals who will try to manipulate those who are oppressed for negative ends. They have to be stopped.

I get questions sometimes about what the implications of this war on terrorism are for the Crimean Tartars, because they are predominantly Muslim. I want to tell you that I have met with the Crimean Tartar leadership. These people are committed to peace. It is also true that there is discontent among the Crimean Tartars. They have concerns particularly about land, water, and their ability to effectively be represented in the Crimean legislator. And I think the Ukrainian government is serious about this dialogue. President Kuchma has gone to Crimea and met with the leadership. And a real question that exists on the table right now is will the Crimean Tartars find a formula that will effectively allow them to be represented in their government so that they feel that they can express their views through legitimate political means.

It also has focused attention on another point. When people are disillusioned they lose hope and that creates risks. And I hope that for Ukraine, one of the things that this has done is to reinforce or renew the commitment to reform, because that commitment to reform is also a commitment to ensure the stability of the country.

I get asked often, and many of you here I am sure will be interested in this, about the safety of Americans and the threat of anthrax in Ukraine. There is a warden network that has been established in Ukraine for all American citizens. We use that warden network to get any notices about information out as quickly as we can. I am going to give you a phone number if any of you have relatives or friends there that you want to make sure are on this warden network. It is 490- 44222. That is a Kiev number – area code 44. The Embassy itself continues to operate fully. We have not missed one day of operation. As I indicated earlier, there has been an extensive increase of security around American facilities, not just U.S. Government facilities.

There have been a lot of anthrax hoaxes in Ukraine. I know I have seen at least 50 that have been tallied. None have actually proved positive so far. We have distributed information on how to respond, obviously within the Embassy and the American community. We have had contacts with the Administrative Emergency situations. We have had a chance to review their procedures. We have seen them respond I think quite effectively. But it has also been a reminder that no matter how far away a country might feel that it is from the center of the action, that vigilance is absolutely critical.

And finally, the question and the issue that I would like to close with is a question that I was asked from day one. How could this tragedy happen in the United States? And what I have often said is that in some ways it is logical, because the United States is the freest society in the world, and with freedom there is risk. The world has certainly changed since the end of the Cold War. Borders don’t mean what they used to. Money moves around the world in a flash like this. Intelligence and technology can be shared like this. It can create dangers for proliferation, and indeed it is a call to all of us to all countries to redouble our efforts on non-proliferation. And perhaps for Ukraine, one of the questions it may raise is the consideration of some of its relationships, particularly I would say with Iraq. But the answer to this freedom, and the risk it imposes, is not to return to the past. That is certainly going in the wrong direction. The answer is to in fact protect that freedom and to mitigate the risks that we find in our society. Because, in the end, we find our strength in freedom and in human dignity. These are the very values that those terrorists attacked. And if we sacrifice that freedom in human dignity, then the terrorists win.

This principle is important to today’s Ukraine. For the past two days you have all focused on Ukraine’s economic prosperity, on questions of investment and growth, on freedom of speech, on Ukraine’s upcoming election on creating a viable democracy and Ukraine’s integration with Europe.

These are the very values that make Ukraine part of the civilized world, the world that we seek to protect. They are also the values that are at the core of our bilateral relationship. Some will ask did U.S./Ukrainian relationship automatically improve as a result of September 11th? What I would say is that if Ukraine takes steps to strengthen its commitment to political and market reform in context of the realities after September 11th, yes of course those bilateral relations should obviously improve.

September 11th will indeed be a landmark point in history. There is no doubt about that. There is no doubt that we will all have to look back on this date and recall the tragedy, because there was a huge upheaval. But it is now in our power, all of us, to try to make this a date where we have all seen the common values of humanity that unite us, and to use those common values to draw the world together.

For Ukraine this can be a moment of awakening, a real recognition that there is no time to lose in finding its place in the Euro-Atlantic community. And, as has been stressed throughout these past two days, that integration with the Euro-Atlantic community will depend on steps from within, though, as President Bush said in his speech in Warsaw last June, if Ukraine takes those steps, we should reward it.

Because of the international coalition against terrorism, we are all today in a common international endeavor—to stand up for freedom as a defining value in our societies. And we are all in this room in a common endeavor to promote a free democratic and prosperous Ukraine. Let us stay united. Thank you.

 

Past Highlight Events

RT XVII Items of Note
Highlights from Ukraine's Quest for Mature Nation Statehood RT XVII: Ukraine & Religious Freedom, held in Washington, DC on Oct. 27, 2016
 
UA HES SE: UA 25th B-Day
Highlights from UA HES Special Event: 'Commemorating the 25th Anniversary of the Modern Ukrainian State', held at the NY Princeton Club on Sept. 17, 2016
 
US-UA WG YS IV Highlights
Highlights from US-UA WG Yearly Summit IV: Providing Ukraine with an Annual Report Card, held at the University Club in Washington, DC on June 16, 2016
 
US-UA SD VII Items of Note
Highlights from US-Ukraine Security Dialogue VII held on February 25, 2016 in Washington DC
 
UA HES SE: WW2 Legacy
Highlights from the UA Historical Encounters Special Event: 'Contested Ground': The Legacy of WW2 in Eastern Europe, held in Edmonton on October 23-24, 2015
 
Holodomor SE Highlights
Highlights from the UA Historical Encounters Special Event: Taking Measure of the Holodomor, held at the Princeton Club of NY on November 5-6, 2013
 
US-UA SD III Items of Note
Highlights from US-Ukraine Security Dialogue III held on May 19, 2012 in Chicago, IL

  • Former UA Foreign Minister Volodymyr Ohryzko's keynote
 
UEAF Forum VI Highlights
Highlights from UEAF Forum VI, held in Ottawa, Canada on March 7-8, 2012
 
RT XII Items of Note
Highlights from Ukraine's Quest for Mature Nation Statehood RT XII: PL-UA & TR-UA, held in Washington, DC on Oct 19–20, 2011
 
US-UA ED III Items of Note
Highlights from US-Ukraine Energy Dialogue III, held in Washington DC
on April 15-16, 2008
 
© 2019 CUSUR—Center for US Ukrainian Relations