WASHINGTON – The longest-serving Ukrainian ambassador to the United States, Olexander Motsyk, concluded his almost five-year assignment here and returned to Kyiv with his wife, Natalia Terletska, on April 25.
Two days earlier, he was honored with a farewell reception at the Ukrainian Embassy, at which representatives of the U.S. government, Congress, think tanks and the Ukrainian diaspora expressed their respect and gratitude for his service here, and the ambassador expressed his deep appreciation for their support of Ukraine and its people.
Addressing the large gathering, the ambassador noted that his mission here coincided with a very difficult time in Ukraine’s history, especially during the past year, when Ukraine has been fighting against foreign aggression.
“Naturally that made my mission truly challenging,” he said, but added, “I believe the day of our victory will come, because truth is on our side, and because our friends, led by America, stand next to us.”
The ambassador expressed his gratitude to President Barack Obama, Vice-President Joe Biden and Secretary of State John Kerry “for their leadership and strong support of my country.” He added that “the bipartisan support of the U.S. Congress was no less important,” and expressed his “deep appreciation” to House Speaker John Boehner, Sens. John McCain, Ben Cardin, Bob Corker, Robert Menendez and Chris Murphy, Reps. Marcy Kaptur, Sander Levin, Eliot Engel (who was at the reception) and others.
“A strong and democratic Ukraine, integrated into the European Union will certainly be in the interest of the United States, the European Union and the whole international community,” Ambassador Motsyk said.
He also expressed Ukraine’s gratitude to the U.S. ambassadors who served in Ukraine for remaining actively engaged in U.S.-Ukraine affairs, and to the Ukrainian diaspora, which, he said, “is always at the forefront of building a democratic, prosperous European Ukraine and strong Ukraine-U.S. ties.”
Two former U.S. ambassadors – Roman Popadiuk and William Green Miller – were present at the reception.
Among those expressing the U.S. government’s appreciation for Ambassador Motsyk’s service here was Eric Rubin, the deputy assistant secretary of state for European and Eurasian affairs, who noted that he represented Ukraine in Washington “through the most difficult period of Ukraine’s independent history, and has served with distinction and great talent and dedication through this very painful period.”
Among some of the prominent representatives of the Ukrainian diaspora at the reception were Metropolitan Antony of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the U.S.A. and Metropolitan-Archbishop Stefan Soroka of the Ukrainian Catholic Church.
“We appreciate the effort that you put forth,” said Metropolitan Antony. “We appreciate your care for the Ukrainian people here in the United States, your willingness to listen to what they had to say, your willingness to share your thoughts with them and your support for them.”
And he presented Ambassador Motsyk with what he called a “small present” – a copy of an icon of the metropolitans of Kyiv. The original icon was presented to Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew of Constantinople.
Metropolitan Soroka thanked the ambassador for his “generous and very dedicated service” to Ukrainian interests and the relationship between Ukraine and America. “You have endeared yourself to the Ukrainians living throughout the United States,” he said, adding, “Thanks for being a beacon of hope and a vibrant voice for the interests of Ukraine.”
Ambassador Motsyk used the occasion to introduce Yaroslav Brisiuck, his deputy chief of mission, who will serve as the Ukrainian Embassy’s chargé d’affaires until the new ambassador – yet to be officially appointed – arrives in Washington. (There have been reports in the Ukrainian media that next ambassador will be Valeriy Chaly, the current deputy head of President Petro Poroshenko’s administration.)
This was not the only farewell gathering here for the departing ambassador. A week earlier, he was honored at a “dinner of appreciation” organized by the U.S.-Ukraine Business Council, and the day after the Embassy reception he was bid farewell at the U.S. State Department.