Today, Congressman John B. Larson, Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro, Congressman Joe Courtney, Congressman Jim Himes and Congresswoman Elizabeth Esty condemned the violence in Ukraine, calling for a peaceful solution to the current crisis. All five Members are cosponsors of House Resolution 447, supporting the democratic and European aspirations of the people of Ukraine and urging continued collaboration between the United States and the European Union.
“The people of Ukraine should not be afraid to express their democratic rights. It is crucial that we work with the international community towards a peaceful solution and urge those responsible for harm against demonstrators and others to be held accountable. The government of Ukraine should engage its people in the country’s recovery rather than impose division and violence. All citizens must have a right to advocate for their futures without fear of retribution,” said the Representatives.
The U.S. House of Representatives is scheduled to bring House Resolution 447 to a vote later today. Full text of the resolution here:
Supporting the democratic and European aspirations of the people of Ukraine, and their right to choose their own future free of intimidation and fear.
Whereas a democratic, prosperous, and independent Ukraine is in the national interest of the United States;
Whereas closer relations with the European Union (EU) through the signing of an Association Agreement will promote democratic values, good governance, and economic opportunity in Ukraine;
Whereas millions of Ukrainian citizens support closer relations with Europe and the signing of an Association Agreement;
Whereas the Government of Ukraine has declared integration with Europe a national priority and has made significant progress toward meeting the requirements for the Association Agreement;
Whereas Ukraine has the sovereign right to enter into voluntary partnerships of its choosing, in keeping with its interests;
Whereas Ukraine's closer relations with the EU do not threaten any other country, and will benefit both Ukraine and its neighbors;
Whereas on November 21, 2013, following several months of intense outside pressure, Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych abruptly suspended negotiations on the Association Agreement one week before it was due to be signed at the EU's Eastern Partnership Summit in Vilnius, Lithuania;
Whereas this reversal of stated government policy precipitated demonstrations by hundreds of thousands of Ukrainian citizens in Kyiv as well as in cities throughout the country;
Whereas the demonstrators have been overwhelmingly peaceful and have sought to exercise their constitutional rights to freely assemble and express their opposition to President Yanukovych's decision, as well as their support for greater government accountability and closer relations with Europe;
Whereas on November 30, 2013, police violently dispersed peaceful demonstrators in Kyiv's Independence Square, resulting in many injuries and the arrest of several dozen individuals;
Whereas on December 11, 2013, police raided 3 opposition media outlets and the headquarters of an opposition party;
Whereas on December 11, 2013, despite President Yanukovych's statement the previous day that he would engage in talks with the opposition, police attempted to forcibly evict peaceful protesters from central locations in Kyiv; and
Whereas United States, European, and other leaders, as well as 3 former presidents of Ukraine, have urged restraint and warned against the use of violence against peaceful protesters, and have called for dialogue with the opposition to resolve the current political and economic crisis: Now, therefore, be it
Resolved, That the House of Representatives
Greatly values the warm and close relationship the United States has established with Ukraine since that country regained its independence in 1991;
Supports the democratic and European aspirations of the people of Ukraine, and their right to choose their own future free of intimidation and fear;
Calls on the United States and the European Union to continue to work together to support a peaceful resolution to the crisis, and to continue to support the desire of millions of Ukrainian citizens for closer relations with Europe through the signing of an Association Agreement, as well as for a democratic future;
Urges the Government of Ukraine, Ukrainian opposition parties, and all protesters to exercise the utmost restraint and avoid confrontation, and calls on the Government of Ukraine to live up to its international obligations and respect and uphold the democratic rights of its citizens, including the freedom of assembly and expression, as well as the freedom of the press;
Calls on the Government of Ukraine to bring to justice those responsible for violence against peaceful protesters, and to release and drop criminal charges against those detained for exercising their democratic rights;
Urges the United States and the European Union to continue to make clear to Ukraine's leaders that those who authorize or engage in violence against peaceful protesters will be held personally accountable;
States that in the event of further violence by government authorities against peaceful protesters, the United States House of Representatives may consider targeted sanctions against those who authorize or engage in this use of force; and
Urges all parties to engage in constructive, sustained dialogue in order to find a peaceful solution to Ukraine's current political and economic crisis.