Ukraine’s Six Months of Resistance, Resilience, and Resolve
U.S. Ambassador to Slovenia, Jamie Harpootlian
Dnevnik, August 26, 2022
Russia’s aggression in Ukraine is one of the most consequential events for Europe since World War II. Ukraine has been attacked by Russia since 2014. It has endured six months of massive bombings, sieges of cities, and atrocities against its people. Ukraine is fighting to defend not only its democracy, but its very survival as an independent country. The resilience and tenacity of Ukraine’s people have inspired the world to support their fight for freedom. Ukraine’s armed forces have fought valiantly to defend values we all hold dear.
August 24th marks the 31st anniversary of Ukraine’s independence. Sadly, the day also marks six months since the Russian government’s unprovoked, full-scale invasion of Ukraine, an attack so shocking to the international community that it was thoroughly condemned by the UN General Assembly, and spurred two new countries to seek membership in the NATO Alliance.
We must remain united in our support for Ukraine’s sovereignty, democracy, and European aspirations. Russian forces have committed war crimes and atrocities, and their war in Ukraine will negatively impact global food insecurity and the global economy for years to come.
The worldwide reaction to Vladimir Putin’s war against Ukraine has been so visceral and moved so many because in the conduct of this war, we have seen evidence—on a nearly daily basis—of violence, destruction, devastation, and death. There also is evidence that Russia intends to attempt to annex additional Ukrainian territory by force. Annexation by force would be a gross violation of the UN Charter and we will not allow it to go unchallenged or without cost. No state should be able to change its neighbor’s borders.
The United States is supporting a range of international investigations into atrocities in Ukraine. This includes those conducted by the International Criminal Court, the United Nations, and the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe. The United States stands ready to support national courts around the world that have jurisdiction over individuals accused of committing international crimes.
The consequences of Russia’s war are not confined to Ukraine. Russia’s aggression has upended the global grain trade, endangering food security for many populations. The crisis also has accelerated inflation and retail prices around the world.
The United States continues to support all efforts to ensure Ukrainian food reaches world markets. We will continue to use forums such as the G20 to press Russia to adhere to the recent deal allowing transit of food shipments from Ukraine’s Black Sea ports. With Russia’s brazen attack on the port of Odesa only 24 hours after concluding this deal, along with continued attacks on transportation and agricultural infrastructure, international pressure to unlock Ukrainian food exports will continue to be critical.
Despite the enormous cost Vladimir Putin has inflicted on Ukraine and the world, sanctions by the United States and our partners and allies are designed to compel the Kremlin to cease its violence and are taking a toll on Russia’s economy, which has required unprecedented (and unsustainable) Kremlin intervention to prevent significant damage. As sanctions continue to weaken Putin’s warfighting capabilities, Ukrainian forces are successfully defending their country and the Ukrainian people are more united than ever.
Since Russia’s full-scale invasion began in February, more than 50 countries have joined the United States to deliver security assistance to Ukraine. Together, we are expediting more shipments of the weapons Ukraine is using so effectively to defend itself. The United States has committed nearly $10 billion in security assistance since Russia launched its unjustified war against Ukraine on February 24.
Ukrainian civil society has expanded its humanitarian response efforts, delivering aid, and rebuilding communities. Aid workers, the majority of whom are Ukrainian, are operating across all 24 oblasts, reaching nearly 12 million people with assistance. The United States is proud to support their efforts with over $1.2 billion in humanitarian assistance this year alone. We also will continue to work with the international community to help Ukraine rebuild.
The United States and its allies and partners around the world are more united than ever. We stand with Ukraine and support its fight for survival, and will continue to work to bolster European security and democratic values. We stand with Ukraine because borders and food supplies are not bargaining chips. We stand with Ukraine because human rights are incontrovertible. We stand with Ukraine because it is the right thing to do.