On Friday, April 24th, Russia unveiled images of Vladimir Putin’s pet project: a new Russian Orthodox cathedral, located in the center of a “military theme park” near Moscow, which was set to open on May 9. Putin has fixated on May 9 unlike any other Soviet or Russian ruler since Stalin, even more so on this 75th anniversary of the Allied victory over Nazi Germany in World War II. Inside this cathedral, so-called religious mosaics depict Putin alongside his Minister of Defense, and the director of the FSB (the modern-day successor to the KGB). Another mosaic depicts Stalin’s portrait held above a crowd of Soviet soldiers during the World War II Victory Day parade of 1945 on Red Square. In a final act of sacrilege, the cathedral walls display a tribute in mosaic to Russia’s illegal invasion and ongoing military occupation of Ukraine’s Crimea, with one fragment declaring “our Crimea”.
Just one day after Putin launched this new disinformation campaign about the Soviet Union in advance of May 9, President Donald Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin issued a rare joint statement to illustrate “how our countries can put aside differences, build trust and cooperate in pursuit of a greater cause.” Ostensibly issued to commemorate the 75th anniversary of the first meeting between U.S. and Soviet troops during World War II, this symbolic gesture is quite alarming. The Ukrainian American community, therefore, has responded with incredulity to the joint statement issued by the White House and the Kremlin this Saturday, April 25th.
Unfortunately, the “meeting at the Elbe,” cited in the joint statement and throughout Russian media, only led to decades of brutal authoritarian control by the Soviet Union to all parts of Eastern Europe and, in particular, to the people of Ukraine. Nearly seven decades later, Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in 2014 has resulted in over 13,000 people killed and over 2.5 million civilians displaced — the largest wartime displacement in Europe since World War II, which began in 1939 as a joint invasion of Ukrainian lands by Stalin and Hitler. The United States government has consistently supported Ukraine’s sovereignty, independence, and the inviolability of Ukraine’s borders since Russia’s invasion, declaring as official state policy to “assist the government of Ukraine in restoring its sovereignty and territorial integrity in order to deter the government of the Russian Federation from further destabilizing and invading Ukraine and other independent countries.”
As patriotic Americans, the Ukrainian Congress Committee of America (UCCA), the largest representation of Americans of Ukrainian descent, looks to our political leaders to stand in defense of liberty and democratic ideals when confronted by a foreign adversary. When Putin announced his intention to host a high-level delegation from the United States at his Victory Day parade in Moscow, UCCA made our position clear in advance of May 9. While the May 9 parade has been postponed in light of the worldwide pandemic, Putin has increased his worldwide disinformation campaign designed to test the will of the international sanctions regime enacted against Russia.
Instead of issuing joint statements with the murderous Putin regime, UCCA calls on the United States to continue to support Ukraine in its struggle against Russian aggression by increasing sanctions on Russia until all covert and overt Russian forces and equipment are removed from Ukraine, including a withdrawal of any territorial claim over the Crimean peninsula.
Thirty-four years ago, Chornobyl’s Nuclear Reactor Number Four exploded in the early morning hours of April 26th, 1986. Releasing 400 times more radioactive material than the atomic bomb in Hiroshima, the explosion remains the worst nuclear disaster in history. The subsequent acts of the imperialistic Russian regime not only intensified the irreparable harm done to Ukraine and its people, but also demonstrated a blatant and callous disrespect for human life.
Located just 64 miles north of Ukraine’s capital, Kyiv, the explosion that occurred at the Chornobyl Nuclear Power Plant subjected the Ukrainian nation to catastrophic loss and devastation. Only when radiation levels set off a nuclear power plant in Sweden two days later, did the Soviet authorities issue an acknowledgment of the disaster. By then, the majority of people in the nearby town of Prypyat had already suffered nuclear poisoning. Moscow continued to deny and conceal the explosion’s magnitude in an effort to uphold the totalitarian regime’s Iron Curtain. Thousands of innocent Ukrainians, including young children, were forced to go about their days, completely unaware of the nuclear contamination that was urgently poisoning their bodies. To this day, the detrimental consequences of Moscow’s incompetence are still evident. On April 4th, 2020, a forest fire caused radiation levels to spike to nearly 17 times above the normal levels, reminding the Ukrainian people that the memory of this catastrophe is still fresh. Adverse economic, ecological, and health effects stemming from this disaster are expected to plague Ukraine for many years to come.
Ukrainian Congress Committee of America (UCCA) annually commemorates this disaster, offering our prayers for all the victims killed by this tragedy and all those who continue to suffer from its effects. This year, we call upon the international community to help us ensure that the ongoing needs of the victims are never forgotten. In light of Russia’s continued disrespect for human life in Eastern Ukraine, we ask that the international community join us in bringing justice to all those who have fallen victim to the acts of the Kremlin.
As we commemorate the 34th anniversary of the worst nuclear disaster in the history of the world, let us never forget the lives that were lost to this catastrophic crime against humanity.
2020 is a census year. The US Department of Commerce needs your help to count everyone in the United States by providing basic information about all adults, children, and babies living or staying at a particular address. This will be used to determine the number of seats each state has in Congress, your political representation at all levels of government, and the distribution of federal funds to local communities for schools, roads, and other public services.
Ukrainian Congress Committee of America encourages all members of the Ukrainian American community to focus on Question No. 9 — “Race.” When answering this question for the category “White,” there is an option below to fill out the space for ancestry. Write the word UKRAINIAN.
Respond by April 1st at my2020census.gov.
In February 2020, Volodymyr Tsyalkovsky celebrated his 820th ride on Citi Bike and is feeling lucky to be able to turn a part of his daily commute to the office into such an enjoyable experience. Cycling is truly the most convenient transportation mode on the borough of Manhattan. 245 happy commuting hours “behind bars” 😉 … and counting.
In perspective, the distance traveled to date, i.e. 1834 mi or 2952 km, roughly equates to a round-trip starting from his hometown Lviv, Ukraine, through major metropolises of the country, such as Odesa, Donetsk, Luhansk, Kharkiv, Kyiv, Ukraine, and back to Lviv. There is always a place for Ukraine in Volodymyr’s heart!
Many thanks to former (2002 – 2013) Mayor of New York City Mike Bloomberg for reimagining transportation in the Big Apple and enabling cycling infrastructure for all New Yorkers to share and enjoy.
If interested to learn about the uncertainty and excitement of the launch of Citi Bike programme in May 2013, please refer to the article in The New York Times.
Ukrainians around the world mark February 20th as Heavenly Hundred Remembrance Day, when over 100 brave individuals, whose lives were tragically cut short in clashes with security forces in Kyiv on this date in 2014.
This innocent group of protesters – who have been dubbed “The Heavenly Hundred” – had been protesting human rights and fundamental freedom abuses, and the backsliding of Ukraine’s pro-European course in 2013. Six years ago, they took the fate of their country in their own hands. Their sacrifice is a reminder of the Ukrainian nation’s eternal aspirations for freedom.
Heroes Never Die!
Dear Friend of St Josaphat’s Monastery,
As the blessed Easter Season approaches, St Josaphat’s Monastery is reaching out to you for support with our Annual Easter Paska Fundraiser. This year we will feature:
- Cherry & Walnut Paska for $12
- Raisin Paska for $11
- Plain Paska for $8
Last year our response was so successful that Newsday’s Food Editor caught wind and fell in love. Our story was featured in Newsday’s part 2 food section. Our Paska is so delicious, and is made from the highest quality ingredients.
Because of the high demand we ask you place your orders early. Your orders should be placed with Mary Sydor via e-mail [email protected] (please include your phone number), phone 516.334.8385 or text 516.642.4188. Order form can be found here.
The restoration and upkeep of our Ukrainian National Historical Treasure is a very large undertaking and requires an enormous amount of money. Through the great response of last year’s Paska Fundraiser we were able to replace the crumbling kitchen counter tops with long lasting granite.
This year our goal is to complete payments on our new boiler and replace two commercial failing ovens, which have exceeded their life expectancy. We ask if you would join several other generous donors, and donate money for ingredients. This will ensure that 100% of all sales will directly benefit St Josaphat’s Monastery. For donations in lieu of orders please also contact Mary Sydor. Please open your heart and give generously. We really need your help.
Remember, this is a once a year event, we kindly ask that you order early due to the great demand. The Paskas can be frozen and will taste fresh and delicious when defrosted, so please stock up! We ask that you share the word about our delicious Paska. They make wonderful gifts for family, friends, and/or colleagues.
Thank you and we very much look forward to hearing from you!
In His service,
Fr Eugene Khomyn, OSBM
Український Конґресовий Комітет Америки
радісних Свят Різдва Христового
і щасливого Нового Року!
Нехай цей святковий час принесе
благословення Боже всім українцям,
а Новий Рік — здоров’я, щастя
і сповнення всіх наших
мрій та прагнень
і миру в Україні.