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Political issues
02 December 2019 14:38

Information updated as to May 2020

The United States of America recognized Ukraine as an independent state on December 25, 1991. Diplomatic relations were established on January 3, 1992.

H.E. Volodymyr Yelchenko is Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Ukraine to the United States of America. Kristina Kvien is Chargé d’Affaires, a.i. of the United States Embassy in Ukraine. (On May 1, 2020 President Donald J. Trump announced his intent to nominate Keith W. Dayton to be Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the United States of America to Ukraine. His candidacy has to be confirmed by the United States Senate).

The relations between Ukraine and the U.S. have the status of strategic partnership. For the first time, the two countries defined such status of cooperation in 1996, during the visit of Foreign Minister Gennadiy Udovenko to Washington; thereafter it was reconfirmed in statements by Presidents of Ukraine and the United States in 2000 and 2005, and in the U.S.-Ukraine Charter on Strategic Partnership of December 19, 2008, which defines the main principles and priorities of bilateral cooperation.

 

U.S. - Ukraine political dialog at the high and highest levels is developing dynamically. The latest meeting of the Presidents of Ukraine and U.S. was held in the fall of 2019 in New York within the framework of UNGA. In February, 2020, the U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo paid an official visit to Kyiv.

The U.S. provides considerable support to Ukraine aimed at restoring the sovereignty and territorial integrity and defending from continued Russia’s aggression, mobilizing the international community, strengthening Ukraine’s defense capabilities and energy security, as well as implementing comprehensive political, economic and social reforms and strengthening the rule of law.


The U.S. remains the largest donor of technical assistance to Ukraine, which, since 1991, has amounted to around 5 bln. dollars.

President Trump’s Administration has made a number of important steps in support of Ukraine, such as providing Ukraine since 2017 with defensive lethal weapons, including antitank missiles “Javelin”, Island-class patrol boats, other armaments. In July, 2018 the Secretary of State Mike Pompeo issued the “Crimea Declaration” which articulates U.S. policy regarding non-recognition of Russia’s attempted annexation of Crimea and demands the return of this territory to Ukraine. The Trump Administration is implementing tough sanctions against Russia, its defense and security sectors, the “Nord Stream - 2” pipeline project (its construction suspended due to sanctions).


The key intergovernmental body tasked with implementation of the provisions of U.S.-Ukraine Charter on Strategic Partnership is the Ukraine-U.S. Strategic Partnership Commission (SPC), established in December, 2009 and co-chaired by the Minister for Foreign Affairs of Ukraine and the U.S. Secretary of State. The SPC coordinates bilateral inter-agency cooperation along the line of work of three working groups: Security and Countering Russian Aggression; Rule of Law and Humanitarian Issues; and Economy and Energy.  Additionally, there are a number of sectoral bilateral mechanisms, such as Trade and Investment Council, Non-proliferation and Export Control Working Group, Energy Security Dialogue, Cyber Security Dialogue, consultations between defense ministries, as well as on such issues and science, technology, exploration of space and many others. 

The bilateral Ukraine-US treaty and legal framework consists of over 150 international documents. Given the strategic nature of cooperation between the two countries, new treaties and agreements are being negotiated and concluded on permanent basis. On top of that, the two countries are parties to more than 100 multilateral treaties and arrangements.

Bilateral cooperation in the sphere of science and technology, as well as in space exploration and rocket building, remains a high priority for both countries which is demonstrated, in particular, by launches twice a year of Antares space rocket which is jointly produced by US and Ukrainian rocket designers.

Protection of rights and interests of Ukrainians residing in the US is one of the top priorities in our diplomatic interaction with the U.S. side.

The U.S.-Ukraine inter-parliamentary cooperation is characterized by positive dynamics. Ukrainian Caucuses in the U.S. Senate and the House of Representatives, as well as the MP’s Group on Inter-parliamentary relations with the U.S. at the Parliament of Ukraine play a significant role in deepening our bilateral relations. Ukrainian legislators frequently visit the U.S. capital within the framework of the inter-parliamentary exchange program sponsored by the House Democracy Assistance Commission.

More than 900,000 Ukrainians living in the United States is an important factor for the fullest realization of Ukraine-U.S. cooperation potential (according to the Ukrainian-language U.S. media, there are 2 million people of Ukrainian origin in the U.S.). That is why it is a high priority for Ukraine to strengthen relations with the Ukrainian community and ensure that its ethnic and cultural needs are met.

Bilateral cooperation is widely developed beyond the nations capitals as well, with 23 Ukrainian and American cities enjoying fruitful sister-cities relationships.

Information updated as to May 2020

Since Ukraine became independent in the early 1990s, the U.S.-Ukrainian inter-parliamentary dialogue has been actively developing. The first parliamentary delegation of the independent Ukraine visited Washington DC in October 1991, two months after the declaration of independence, and was led by then Speaker of the Ukrainian parliament L.Kravchuk. Members of the U.S. Congress and the Verkhovna Rada were actively involved in establishing a network of bilateral relations. It was back in those days when Senators R. Lugar, J. McCain, M. McConnell, as well as House Representatives C. Weldon and M. Kaptur became champions of the U.S.-Ukraine relations.

In mid-1990’s members of the Parliament of Ukraine established a Ukraine-U.S. Group for Inter-Parliamentary Cooperation, which has become one of the largest in the Verkhovna Rada. In the Verhovna Rada of the IX convocation, the Group includes 176 MP’s.

In 1997, the Congressional Ukrainian Caucus was founded in the U.S. House of Representatives. Creation of the Caucus was supported by the Ukrainian diaspora in the U.S. and was initiated by Rep. S. Levin, J. Fox, L. Slaughter and B. Schaffer. This important initiative was announced to the public at a reception commemorating the first anniversary of the adoption of the Ukrainian Constitution, held at the Embassy of Ukraine in the United States.

The Ukrainian Congressional Committee of America and Head of its Washington branch M. Sawkiw made a significant contribution to further development of the Congressional Ukrainian Caucus.

The Caucus is now one of the largest in the U.S. Congress. Currently, it consists of nearly four dozen House Members representing both the Republican and Democratic parties. The Ukrainian Caucus is led by four co-chairs – Brian Fitzpatrick (R-PA), Andy Harris (R-MD), Marcy Kaptur (D-OH), and Michael Quigley (D-Il). Most of the Caucus members have large Ukrainian constituencies in their home districts. Some of them, Marcy Kaptur and Andy Harris for example, are of Ukrainian descend.

The goal of the Caucus is to promote the bilateral U.S.-Ukraine cooperation, including through legislation. Another goal is to facilitate the awareness of members of the Congress about political, economic, social, and cultural events occurring in Ukraine. Special attention is paid to supporting Ukraine in democratization and market-oriented reforms, as well as to shaping the U.S. Congress official position regarding Ukraine’s success in their implementation.

Among important achievements to which the Caucus contributed one should mention the U.S. annual financial support for Ukraine, adoption of legislation to create a Washington DC memorial honoring the victims of the 1932-1933 Holodomor-genocide, and Ukraine's graduation from the provisions of the U.S. Jackson-Vanik amendment.

In February 2015, the Senate Ukraine Caucus was created. Sen. R. Portman (R-OH) and Sen. R. Durbin (D-IL) co-chair the Caucus. There are currently around two dozen members of the Caucus.

Members of the Caucuses meet regularly with representatives of the Ukrainian Government and members of the Ukrainian Parliament. They also participate actively in events on the Hill dedicated to supporting Ukraine. One such example are the Ukrainian Days in the U.S. Congress. Active position of the Ukrainian community in the United States is an important factor in the Caucuses’ work.

During the Maidan, U.S. Senators and Congressmen condemned the use of force and fire arms against the protesters, as well as supported the European aspirations of the Ukrainian people.

The illegal attempts of the Russian Federation to occupy Crimea and the Kremlin’s military aggression in Donbas have mobilized the U.S. Congress in a strong bipartisan unity in support of our nation. Since February 2014, Members of the U.S. Congress have introduced dozens of relevant draft bills and resolutions. More than a dozen of them have been passed, including bills “Support for the Sovereignty, Integrity, Democracy, and Economic Stability of Ukraine”, “Ukraine Freedom Support Act”, and “Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act”. The Congress overwhelmingly supported providing Ukraine with the lethal defensive weapons. Legislation to impose sanctions on the construction of the “Nord Stream-2” gas pipeline, adopted in late 2019, has halted the implementation of that political project of Russia.

on June 15, 2017, the Speakers of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine and the House of Representatives of the US Congress signed a renewed U.S. Congress - Rada Parliamentary Exchange memorandum. According to the document, the two parliaments have agreed to continue to cooperate to help promote the expansion of political, economic, security, humanitarian and cultural cooperation between the United States and Ukraine.

Today, the U.S. Congress has a strong bipartisan bicameral support to strengthening the sovereignty and territoriality integrity of Ukraine, expanding security and defense assistance, promoting Euro-Atlantic aspirations and enhancing energy security of Ukraine. Currently there are about two dozen related legislative initiatives under consideration in both chambers of Congress. Particular attention is paid to addressing the challenges posed by the Russia's aggression against Ukraine, through providing Ukraine with the US political, economic, financial and security assistance, as well as comprehensive support for crucial structural reforms and economic modernization.

During the recent years an unprecedented number of Congressional delegations have visited Ukraine to support the democratic transformations and the Ukrainians’ fight against Russian aggression. At the same time, Ukrainian parliamentarians have also engaged in an expanding and deepening dialog with their colleagues in the United States.

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