Washington, D.C. – On April 17, the Central and East European Coalition issued the following statement:
The Central and East European Coalition (CEEC) joins the United States government in condemning Russia’s aggression against Ukraine and its illegal annexation of Crimea. The CEEC, comprised of 18 national organizations representing more than 20 million Americans of Central and Eastern Europe heritage, fully supports Ukraine’s aspirations for a democratic society living in peace and security with its neighbors.
To date, the sanctions imposed by the United States have been insufficient to stop Russia’s further aggression into Ukraine. Indeed, it appears that the security and stability of the entire Central and East European region is at stake unless further immediate action is taken by the United States, NATO, and the European Union.
The CEEC therefore calls upon the United States government to do, and work with its allies to implement, the following:
• Support a major OSCE and UN peacekeeping mission (both civilian and military) to Eastern and Southern Ukraine to monitor the situation on the ground and deter provocations that may lead to Russian military intervention;
• Share relevant intelligence with the Ukrainian government in real time;
• Hold immediate joint NATO exercises in Ukraine and in bordering NATO ally countries such as Poland and the Baltic states;
• Support the establishment of permanent NATO bases in these front-line countries to assure their security. Bases currently used by NATO for training and supply purposes in Central Europe should be made permanent and re-focused to territorial defense;
• Direct U.S. Navy ships to accept friendly invitations to visit Ukrainian ports;
• Provide Ukraine with Major Non-NATO Ally Status, thus conferring a variety of military and financial advantages and privileges that are otherwise not available to non-NATO countries, including the delivery of vital weapons;
• Extend immediate NATO Membership Action Plan (MAP) to Georgia and other countries in the region to solidify Euro-Atlantic structures;
• Increase U.S. assistance to Georgia, Armenia, Moldova, and Belarus to maintain their independence;
• Provide assistance to Ukraine to facilitate its continuing transition to a democratic and tolerant society that fully respects fundamental freedoms and the rights of all minority communities, the latter thereby also dispelling a pretext for Russian aggression;
• Support Ukraine’s full integration into Western structures by accelerating Ukraine’s accession into NATO and the European Union;
• Take action on President Obama’s Executive Order expanding economic sanctions on Russia to include not only individuals within Putin’s inner circle, but major sectors of Russia’s economy; provide assistance to minimize the impact of economic sanctions on countries bordering Russia; work with major U.S. companies to curtail their business dealings with Russia;
• Follow through to provide increased funding authorized by the Ukraine Support Act, signed by President Obama into law on April 3, for Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty and the Voice of America to expand their broadcasting in Russian, Ukrainian, and Tatar;
• Increase funding for people to people programs with Russia and its neighboring countries in both student and professional sectors;
• Bolster U.S. financial support for Ukraine by supporting a 21st century Marshall Plan aimed at stabilizing and strengthening trans-Atlantic and regional security.
By implementing the above recommendations, we will build on the laudable steps already taken by President Obama and help ensure the safety and security of not only Ukraine, but the entire Central and East European region.