CHICAGO – The Illinois Division of the Ukrainian Congress Committee of America (UCCA) announced plans for a rally to be held at the historic Water Tower on Michigan Avenue in Chicago on January 9. The Polish, Lithuanian, Estonian, Latvian and Belarusian communities, and other friends of Ukraine, are expected to join the rally at 3 p.m. in solidarity with the Ukrainian community of the Chicago metropolitan area.
“We stand with Ukraine and against Russian aggression on a sovereign nation. Our rally rejects the disinformation being spread by Russia about the non-existent threat Ukraine poses to Russia,” said Ihor Diaczun, president of the Illinois Division of the UCCA. “We are a large community of 200,000 in Illinois, and our voices need to be heard.”
The community is concerned about the Russian military build-up on the border of Ukraine and Russian President Vladimir Putin’s threats to the United States and NATO. Mr. Putin is demanding that no U.S. assistance be sent to Ukraine, that Ukraine’s NATO aspirations be rescinded by Europe and that no NATO troops be stationed in Eastern European NATO countries. These threats are unacceptable, Mr. Diaczun said.
Russia’s actions also threaten Poland and the Baltic States, which are members of NATO, as well as the Black Sea region and important U.S. allies. The rally is organized to protest Russia’s military build-up and Moscow’s provocative demands, and to ask Mr. Biden to stand firm against Russian expansionism by taking the following steps:
Release immediate military aid to Ukraine, including for air defense, anti-tank, anti-ship and electronic warfare systems to enhance Ukraine’s self-defense capabilities;
Resist any attempts to diplomatically coerce Ukraine into capitulating on their sovereignty or territorial integrity, including with regard to Crimea and occupied eastern Ukraine;
Impose immediate sanctions on the Nord Stream 2 pipeline;
Remove Russia from the SWIFT international financial system and impose stricter sanctions on the Russian financial, energy, defense and manufacturing sectors;
Include Ukraine in all discussions and agreements about Ukraine.
The above actions would act as a deterrent to Russian expansionism, preserve peace and save countless American lives by averting a new armed conflict in Europe.
The Russian invasion of Ukraine threatens the future stability of Europe and the United States.
On December 8, 22 members of Congress signed a letter to Mr. Biden.
“Russia has significantly increased its aggression toward Central and Eastern Europe in its efforts to undermine transatlantic security,” the members of Congress wrote in their letter. They also urged the president to “immediately institute sanctions against Nord Stream AG. Your administration must use all tools to deter Russia from taking further action against Ukraine, including economic sanctions.”
Members of the U.S. House of Representatives from Illinois, among them Mike Quigley, Danny K. Davis, Adam Kinzinger and Sean Casten, signed the December 8 letter to Mr. Biden.
Following a December 24 call where U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin and more than 20 members of Congress participated in a video call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, Mr. Durbin said, “The world must reaffirm that Ukraine’s future be peacefully decided by its people.”
Founded in 1940, the Ukrainian Congress Committee of America is a non-profit, non-partisan community-based organization that has represented the interests of more than two million Americans of Ukrainian descent in the United States. UCCA maintains a national office in New York City, a bureau in Washington and multiple local chapters across the United States. The Illinois Division of UCCA is based in Chicago. For more information about the planned rally, readers may visit the division’s website at http://uccaillinois.org/.