Mr. Chairman, Ranking Member Johnson, and Members of the Subcommittee:
I would like to thank you for this opportunity to speak on an important topic. No political event in Europe this year is more important than the European Union’s Eastern Partnership summit in Vilnius November 28–29. The key question is whether Ukraine and the European Union will sign the long-concluded Association Agreement. The Ukrainian government is reluctant to fulfill all conditions, leaving the signing in doubt. The Ukrainian economy is in poor shape and most vulnerable, and the Russian government is threatening Ukraine with draconian sanctions if the country does sign the EU agreement.
The United States is well liked and highly influential in Ukraine and can do a great deal to influence that country’s choice simply by speaking up. The main objectives for US policy on Ukraine should be to support democracy. If democracy is secured, Ukraine is likely to choose a Western geopolitical orientation. If the United States wants to be important, this is important, and in few places is the United States more appreciated than in Eastern Europe.