With Russian forces crossing over to Crimea this weekend, concerns grow about an outbreak of hostilities between the new Ukrainian government and Russia. That is especially so among families in New Britain's Ukrainian-American community that includes three parishes and an estimated 3,000 residents.
U.S. Senator Chris Murphy and other senators of the Foreign Relations Committee wrote President Obama on Friday to support efforts to ensure a "peaceful transition of power" in the Ukraine with the new government seeking entry into the European Union.
The letter, sent prior to the Russian incursion, stated:
“We write in support of the administration’s efforts to help Ukraine to consolidate democratically elected government, preserve its territorial integrity, and enjoy the freedom to exercise a sovereign decision to sign and implement an Association Agreement with the European Union. We are prepared to work with your Administration to reinforce your efforts by authorizing U.S. loan guarantees to Ukraine and increasing assistance to facilitate a peaceful transition of power.
"We also believe that the U.S. should make use of the tools at its disposal, including targeted sanctions; and asset recovery targeting corruption, to dissuade individuals who would foment unrest to undermine Ukraine's territorial integrity or employ coercive economic measures against the Ukrainian people and the new Ukrainian government.”
The senators also raised concerns about “actions and rhetoric” of the Russian government “to actively undermine Ukraine’s unity” and “use provocative and dangerous tactics to extend their control on the ground.”
“We do not seek confrontation with President Putin and his government, but simply to ensure that Russia abides by its commitments and adheres to core principles of international law. A peaceful, democratic, stable, and sovereign Ukraine is in our national interest,” wrote the senators.