WASHINGTON, DC – United States Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s visit to Ukraine on July 4-5 provides an important opportunity to reassure Ukrainians that the US remains committed to Ukraine’s sovereignty and democratic evolution.
This signal is of critical importance, because Ukraine’s hard-won independence and ability to pursue closer ties to Euro-Atlantic institutions are under threat. Many Ukrainians feel that the US – indeed, most of the West – has given up on their country.
When Viktor Yanukovych was elected president in February, many Ukrainians hoped his victory would end five years of political infighting under former President Viktor Yushchenko and lead to increased stability, reform, and national unity.
These hopes have proven illusory. Rather than bringing greater stability, Yanukovych has pursued a series of policies that have exacerbated domestic tensions and set the stage for Ukraine’s drift back into Russia’s economic and political orbit.