Dear Mr. President:
I am an American citizen who supported your candidacy personally and through a coalition named Ukrainian Americans for Biden at the last election. The coalition was formed because many Ukrainian Americans felt that based on your record on Ukraine when you were Vice President, your expertise and commitment would be most helpful in Ukraine’s struggles. This, of course, was in addition to your overall record in Washington for some 50 years and your reputation as a man of principle and integrity. This appeal, however, is a personal one. You are currently on your European trip which includes for me two very important stops, one at the NATO Summit in Brussels and your meeting with President Vladimir Putin in Geneva. My last minute plea to you is – please remember Ukraine.
The two meetings are very much intertwined. Any action taken at the NATO event will be a subject for discussion with President Putin. As you know, the United States supported Ukraine’s accession to NATO at the Bucharest NATO Summit in 2008. However, at that time, Ukraine’s membership was thwarted by Germany and France. Over the ensuing thirteen years, Russia’s behavior has indeed progressed, all for the worse. Russia has become even more aggressive in Europe and elsewhere: it invaded Georgia, it invaded Ukraine,it interfered most recently in the democratic processes in Belarus. This is how it behaves with its direct neighbors in Europe. Furthermore, Russia has pursued a course entirely contrary to ours in the Middle East, securing autocratic regimes in Syria and Iran. Russia has interfered in at least three of our elections, hacked our energy and food supplies, demanded and received ransom. Internally Russia has crushed any attempt at democracy, human or minority rights within its own borders and has even exported its killing machine to our ally, the United Kingdom.
If, according to the United States in 2008, the time was right for Ukraine to receive its NATO Membership Action Plan, how can we deny Ukraine NATO MAP today. Please manifest your leadership of the democratic Western allies and introduce this issue at the Summit. A significant argument for our German allies is your recent attempt to placate, for the sake of our allies, by waiver of sanctions on the contractors of North Stream 2. While I disagreed with that position, that issue appears to be moot, the gas stream is near completion and the Russians have started pumping gas, I suspect to the satisfaction of Germany’s Chancellor Angela Merkel. Your waiver of sanctions should spur Ms. Merkel to support you on Ukraine’s NATO MAP if she is an honest ally. I need not convince you of Ukraine’s military readiness for NATO as arguably it has the second most powerful military in Europe, nuclear capability aside, which Ukraine sacrificed at our request. Frankly, if I may be so brazen as to suggest that we owe Ukraine.
Historically, American presidents have done very well in meetings with their Russian, or previously, Soviet, counterparts. Granted not much was accomplished at these meetings but the leaders of the United States proved themselves mostly highly principled and firm. Unfortunately, the image of President Trump in Helsinki lingers on in disgrace. I believe that your purpose must be not only to demonstrate firmness and integrity but also to put to rest that fiasco since it was a significant blemish on American foreign policy. President Putin needs to understand in no uncertain terms that Helsinki and President Trump were an aberration. I know that you are just the man for the job with political credentials and, more importantly, personal integrity to make President Putin understand that America as champion of a free and democratic global community is back.
May God bless you and bless the United States of America. I appeal to you, through your good work, to assist in bestowing God’s blessing for the people of Ukraine who have suffered so much and manifested so strong a will for freedom and democracy. Frankly, freedom and democracy in Ukraine depend upon you.
June 11, 2021 Askold S. Lozynskyj