NEW YORK – The president of the Ukrainian Congress Committee of America (UCCA), Andriy Futey, held a series of high-level meetings in Ukraine’s capital on January 22 through 29. During his working visit to Kyiv, he met with Prime Minister Volodymyr Groysman, Foreign Minister Pavlo Klimkin, Acting Minister of Health Dr. Ulana Suprun, Minister of Internal Affairs Arsen Avakov, Minister of Culture Yevhen Nyshchuk, Minister of Education Liliya Hrynevych.
He also had meetings with the head of the Security Service of Ukraine, Vasyl Hrytsak; senior officials in the Presidential Administration of Ukraine, Member of Parliament Andriy Levus, leader of the Svoboda Party Oleh Tyahnybok, former Prime Minister of Ukraine Arseniy Yatseniuk, Ternopil Mayor Serhiy Nadal, Deputy Chief of Mission of the U.S. Embassy in Ukraine George Kent, church hierarchs and representatives of various NGOs.
During his meetings, Mr. Futey discussed Russia’s continuing hybrid war against Ukraine, the need to strengthen sanctions against Russia until it de-occupies Crimea and fully removes its military and weapons from eastern Ukraine, and the idea of a U.N. peacekeeping mission in the Donbas.
He also devoted particular attention to the need to implement comprehensive reforms to combat corruption and institute judicial reforms. Mr. Futey also discussed, in detail, the need for swift implementation of the recently passed medical reform legislation that was signed into law by President Petro Poroshenko.
The issue of Ukrainian-Polish relations was also discussed throughout his meetings. Of utmost importance, according to Mr. Futey, was coordinating a united message and the continued strengthening of the U.S.-Ukraine strategic partnership.
While in Kyiv, Mr. Futey also held a very productive meeting with Ksana Nechyporenko, director of GoGlobal in Ukraine. The initiative of the social organization GoGlobal is aimed at promoting foreign language (English) learning and development of a volunteer movement in Ukraine, as well as facilitating intercultural dialogue and public diplomacy. As a partner organization of GoGlobal, the UCCA is calling on Ukrainian Americans to consider volunteering in Ukraine to teach English to some 80,000 Ukrainian schoolchildren.
Minister Hrynevych thanked the UCCA for supporting this volunteer initiative and stressed the importance of learning the English language and the impact that volunteers can have on the young generations in Ukraine.
Mr. Futey discussed the upcoming 100th anniversary of the Ukrainian Bandurist Chorus of North America with Culture Minister Nyshchuk, including the UBC’s proposed tour in the fall of this year. He also met with family members of the community organization Families of the Heroes of the Heavenly Hundred to hear about their concerns and issues.
On January 23, Mr. Futey had the honor of extending warmest birthday greetings on behalf of the UCCA and the Ukrainian American community to Patriarch Filaret of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church – Kyiv Patriarchate, who turned 89.
On January 29, Mr. Futey attended a solemn commemoration of the 100th anniversary of the Battle of Kruty with President Poroshenko and other Ukrainian government officials at the Kruty Memorial at Askold’s Mound. Along with President Poroshenko, he laid flowers on behalf of the Ukrainian American community to the fallen heroes, and paid his respects at the grave of Markian Paslawsky.
UCCA External Affairs Committee member Borys Potapenko and the head of the Washington office of the Center of U.S.-Ukrainian Relations, Mykola Hryckowian, participated in some of the aforementioned discussions held in Kyiv.