Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney Joins NYC Ukrainian Community Rally At Roosevelt Island's FDR Four Freedoms Park Protesting Russia's Plan To Annex Crimea
Congresswoman Maloney At Roosevelt Island Ukrainian Protest Via Mirceani Manhattan Faces & Places
United States Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney joined representatives from the NYC Ukrainian community at Roosevelt Island's FDR Four Freedoms Park yesterday afternoon to rally and protest Russia's attempt
Images From Mirceani Manhattan Faces & Places
to annex Crimea.
Protested #sham #crimea #referendum 2day at @4FreedomsPark Violates #ukrainian, international laws & 4 freedoms pic.twitter.com/ZGLMmyx0YnYesterday, Congresswoman Maloney's office issued this Press Release:
— Carolyn B. Maloney (@RepMaloney) March 16, 2014
As Russia continues its aggressive and illegal attempt to take over Crimea with a sham referendum that would forcefully annex Ukraine’s Crimea, Congresswoman Carolyn B. Maloney (NY-12) led a massive Independence Rally today at Four Freedoms Park, which was attended by many Ukrainian New Yorkers and organizations. The Ukrainian community joined Congresswoman Maloney on the eve of the March 16 referendum and called for the cancellation of the so-called vote to join the Russian Federation, and for Russian forces to leave Crimea.Here's what happened at Saturday's demonstration. FDR Four Freedoms Park President Sally Minard introduced Congresswoman Maloney who said:
The Congresswoman and the demonstrators denounced Russia’s actions and noted that, in addition to violating Ukraine’s constitution and the Budapest Memorandum, the latter of which specifically requires Russia to respect Ukraine’s sovereignty, they ran counter to the spirit of the Four Freedoms – freedom of speech, freedom of religion, freedom from want and freedom from fear – the principals to which this park is dedicated, and which President Roosevelt said should be the right of people “everywhere in the world.”
“This so-called referendum is nothing more than thinly veiled Russian imperialism. Russia is putting lipstick on a pig by arguing that Crimeans should be able to vote to join the Russian Federation. This is not democracy; this is an illegal invasion and occupation of a sovereign nation. It violates Ukrainian law and international law. It also runs afoul of the spirit of the Four Freedoms that President Roosevelt famously articulated; the freedoms that this park honors, and the freedoms that President Roosevelt likely conveyed at the storied Yalta Conference, in Crimea, when the Russians agreed to join the United Nations. I urge the Russian-controlled Crimean local government to abide by Ukrainian and international laws, and abandon this faux referendum,” said Congresswoman Carolyn B. Maloney (NY-12).
... America Stands With Ukraine...
followed by the singing of the Ukrainian and American national anthems.
After the national anthems, members of the NYC Ukrainian community spoke:
- condemning Russia's attempt to annex Crimea,
- noted the irony of this protest taking place at FDR Four Freedoms Park in view of the 1945 Roosevelt/Stalin Yalta Agreement,
- advocated for Ukraine's admission into the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) and
- urged support for the Crimean Tartar community.
Congresswoman Maloney then announced breaking news that at the United Nations, 13 countries voted to condemn the Crimean referendum as illegal
The NY Times reported today:
With thousands of heavily-armed Russian troops occupying this perennially embattled peninsula, an overwhelming majority of Crimeans voted on Sunday to secede from Ukraine and join Russia, resolutely carrying out a public referendum that Western leaders had declared illegal and vowed to punish with economic sanctions.Click here for full article.
The outcome, in a region that shares a language and centuries of history with Russia, was a foregone conclusion even before exit polls showed more than 93 percent of voters favoring secession. Still, the result deepened the conflict over Ukraine, forcing the United States and its European allies to decide how swiftly and forcefully to levy threatened sanctions against Russian officials including top aides to President Vladimir V. Putin....
Congresswoman Maloney issued the following statement after today's vote in Crimea:
Today is a painful day for many Ukrainian Americans. After the removal of a corrupt and oppressive leader, this should be a time to honor those who gave their lives and to celebrate a chance at democracy, freedom and prosperity.Former United States Ambassador to the Soviet Union Jack Matlock has an interesting article in yesterday's Washington Post on American/Russian relations:
"But instead, the Russians have trampled on Ukraine's sovereignty, created a totally unnecessary crisis, and divided a peaceful people.
"As a result of its unlawful aggression and illegal actions, Russia will find itself increasingly isolated, alone, and distrusted. This will be a pyric victory for the Russians and a bitter day for a noble people. I hope Americans will keep the people of the Ukraine in their thoughts and prayers.
... I don’t believe that we are witnessing a renewal of the Cold War. The tensions between Russia and the West are based more on misunderstandings, misrepresentations and posturing for domestic audiences than on any real clash of ideologies or national interests. And the issues are far fewer and much less dangerous than those we dealt with during the Cold War.Click here for entire Washington Post article.
But a failure to appreciate how the Cold War ended has had a profound impact on Russian and Western attitudes — and helps explain what we are seeing now....
UPDATE 3/19 - In response to my question whether Congresswoman Maloney supports the admission of Ukraine into NATO, Ms Maloney replied:
I believe that Ukraine needs all the support it can get from the United States and our allies, including NATO. However, the focus right now needs to be on diplomacy and economic sanctions as a way to curb this crisis. President Obama has increased sanctions on Russia, sending a strong message that the United States supports Ukrainian sovereignty, and that we will not accept Russia’s encroachment on Crimea.