The answers to these questions will largely determine how 2014 and Ukraine’s future develop. The United States has always been a strong believer in and supporter of the Ukrainian people and their efforts to make their nation a better place. Based on all I have seen in my first few months here, I remain very optimistic about Ukraine’s future and am firmly convinced that any lasting solution to the current political situation must involve the government of Ukraine working with the people of Ukraine, and their representatives, to forge a path all can agree on toward a brighter tomorrow. In particular, I am inspired by the vibrancy of Ukraine’s civil society, evidenced so dramatically over the past three weeks.
At this critical moment, President Yanukovych has an opportunity to address the concerns of all of Ukraine’s citizens and use the momentum of the people on the streets to implement real reform and lead the country towards closer integration with Europe. They demand it, and the president has repeatedly said he is committed to putting Ukraine on a European course. That course does not have to conflict with a robust trade relationship with Russia. This is not a zero-sum game.
Now is the time to steer towards that goal with better governance. The New Year needs to be all about realizing a better tomorrow…that is what I hope to see in Ukraine in 2014.