Saturday, November 27, 2004

Statement by Lithuanian-American Community

Statement in Support of Ukraine's Democratic Forces

November 24, 2004

On behalf of the tens of thousands of members of the Lithuanian-American Community, Inc., we express our solidarity with the people of Ukraine, particularly the democratic forces of Ukraine which today are standing firm against a corrupt, arbitrary and lawless regime and defend their electoral process and the future of their children.

We call upon our own government to support the democratic forces in Ukraine and to not recognize the Ukrainian Central Election Commission's decision to certify Viktor Yanukovych the winner of the Ukrainian presidential election. This election has been judged by independent international observers as flawed by wide-scale and visible fraud.

This is no longer an internal matter of Ukraine and Ukrainians. The United States and other Western democracies must act on their convictions in defense of the democratic process.

We, Lithuanian-Americans, know something about the issue of not recognizing an illegal regime. The United States did not recognize the illegal occupation of Lithuania by the Soviet Union for over fifty years and never recognized the Soviet government's claim to speak for the people of Lithuania. Therefore, we call upon the United States to not recognize the presidency of Viktor Yanukovych.

The United States and other Western democracies must also insist on the removal of foreign troops or foreign armed units from the territory of Ukraine. There are widespread reports that Russian interior ministry troops and even Russian spetznatz troops have entered the territory of Ukraine. Since the parliament of Ukraine has not voted to support any such request, this is a violation of both international law and the Constitution of Ukraine.

People of Ukraine, do not lose faith in your ability to govern yourselves. We call on all people of conscience in the government of Ukraine to support the candidate of the majority, Viktor Yushchenko. We call on the regime of President Kuchma and presidential candidate Yanukovych to refrain from the use of police or miltary force against your fellow Ukrainians.

We urge our members throughout the United States to call on the Congress of the United States and the President of the United States to support the democratic forces of Ukraine.

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