Washington, DC – Ambassador Mark Green, president of IRI, today testified before the United States Senate Committee on Foreign Relations on Ukraine’s recent election, Russia’s aggression and the support Ukraine needs to ensure a strong, independent and prosperous country.
In his testimony, Green outlined IRI’s work in Ukraine and the findings of the Institute’s delegation that observed Ukraine’s May 25 presidential election, which, as Green said, were “free and fair, and met international standards.”
Green also highlighted the plight of the Crimean Tatars. “Nowhere have the fears of Russian influence been more acutely felt in recent months than in their community in Crimea… The Crimean Tatar community…boycotted the illegal Crimean March 16 referendum and rejected its results. Instead, the community has repeatedly pledged their continued support for a united and sovereign Ukraine. Now their very existence in their homeland is under threat.”
Green went on to highlight a number of specific actions the U.S., and others in the West, can undertake to support Ukraine’s democratic transition, including:
- Fostering free and independent news media in Ukraine, including on the Crimean peninsula, that can reach all parts of the country, in particular, supporting the creation and protection of truly Ukrainian social media that allows users to communicate freely and openly without blockage or intimidation.
- Providing experience and technical assistance to help local governments be more accountable to the needs of the Ukrainian people and increased support to the newly-elected government to enact needed reforms and combat corruption.
- Providing assistance for the development of issue-based political parties, particularly new and emerging ones resulting from the Maidan movement, that are able to represent the people.
- Enhancing the capacity of civil society and marginalized groups, such as women, youth and ethnic minorities, to buttress their efforts to develop a democratic and unified Ukraine.
Supporting the building of linkages between Ukrainians from eastern, southern, central and western parts of the country to learn from each other and strengthen relationships with their fellow Ukrainians.