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U.S. Policy Toward Ukraine

August 08, 1994

The Clinton Administration should resist pressures to abandon support for Ukraine's territorial integrity (Jonathan Clarke, Column Right, July 24). Such an irresponsible reversal would abet the very forces Clarke decries: destabilization and conflict in Eastern Europe and throughout the former Soviet region. Clarke fails to take account of the following:

Ukraine emerged from the breakup of the Soviet Union as both a force for stability and a potential economic power. (According to Time magazine, it accounted for one-quarter of Soviet food output and nearly a third of Soviet industry.) Moreover, its nuclear arsenal ranked as the third largest in the world. America's interest in supporting Ukraine increased with Ukraine's joining in the tripartite nuclear weapons agreement in January of this year. Ukraine's special strategic importance is conceded by Clarke himself when he states: "A stable and independent Ukraine certainly constitutes a strong American interest." These factors amply justified the Administration's policy supporting Ukraine and its territorial integrity.

Today, Ukraine is struggling to make the transition to democracy and a market economy. Like any nation, it can be diverted from these great tasks by a territorial challenge. Thus, at this time more than ever, Ukraine's boundaries must be held inviolate so that Ukraine can focus its resources on constructive goals. As a former British diplomat, Clarke must know that one of the fundamental principles of international relations is respect for territorial integrity. One can easily imagine the diplomatic outcry if U.S. policy should retreat from support for the territorial integrity of France, Russia or Great Britain.

Concerns are being expressed in Washington over Russia's tendency toward interventionism in areas such as the Baltic states, Moldova, Georgia and Azerbaijan. Russia should not be encouraged to believe it can add another region to this list: Crimea and eastern Ukraine. While such a scenario could appeal to expansionist elements in Russia, it is hardly in U.S. interests. The Clinton Administration wisely recognized this fact. We believe most Americans would agree.

ASKOLD S. LOZYNSKYJ, President

Ukrainian Congress Committee, New York

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