Yuri Shymko is a former Canadian Member of Parliament. He is past President of the Ukrainian World Congress.
He is the recipient of numerous international awards, including:
• the Order of Prince Yaroslav the Wise (2006), Ukraine's highest state award, from the President of Ukraine. The award has been bestowed upon eminent statesmen and parliamentarians such as Lech Walesa, Javier Solana, and Brian Mulroney.
• Meritorious Service Award from the Parliament of Ukraine (2003)
• Officier de L'Ordre de la Pléiade from the International Assembly of French Speaking Parliamentarians (1997)
• Medal of Merit from the Ukrainian World Congress (1993)
• Canada's Governor General's Confederation Anniversary Commemorative Medal (1992)
• National Cross of Merit from the Polish Government in exile (1987)
• Man of the Year Award from the Ukrainian Canadian Congress (1987)
• Estonia Medal of Service from the Estonian Government in exile (1986)
• Outstanding Service Award from the Reena Foundation which serves the needs of the Jewish
community’s disabled children in Canada (1985)
The historic EuroMaidan movement in Ukraine which began in November of 2013 was guided by the dream of building a European Ukraine, free of corruption with a secure place among the family of European nations.
Comprised of a cross-section of ethnic and religious minorities, this pluralist revolution in Ukraine sent shock waves across the authoritarian regime of Vladimir Putin. The subsequent military aggression and terrorist acts launched by the Russian government, with its illegal annexation of Crimea and campaign of terror and foreign intervention in eastern Ukraine, now threaten to destabilize not only Ukraine, but the entire geopolitical landscape of Europe.
In 1994, under the Budapest Accord, Ukraine agreed to give up its nuclear arsenal-- the third largest at the time-- in return for guarantees made by the USA, Great Britain, and Russia to protect its national borders.
Russia has not only violated this international agreement, but seven other international laws by occupying Ukraine militarily, terrorizing its local population, dispatching separatist insurgents, and openly waging a campaign of disinformation in both its domestic and international media.
President Vladimir Putin has likewise overseen a campaign of ethnic cleansing in Crimea and facilitated the kidnapping, torture, and murder of students, journalists, election observers, and innocent civilians both during the EuroMaidan movement in Kyiv and, in recent months, across eastern and southern Ukraine. It has become a state-sponsor of terrorism.
Russia has tried to make absurd claims about the threat that Russian-speakers face in Ukraine. Absurd, because the EuroMaidan functioned simultaneously in both the Ukrainian and Russian languages. Kyiv, like the rest of Ukraine, is bilingual, tolerant, and peace-loving. Russian speakers and Russian-language media enjoy unhindered freedom of speech in Ukraine. The truth is, the greatest threat to Russians today is the extreme authoritarianism that presently governs Russia.
In fact, not since World War II, has Europe faced a greater threat to peace and stability, than that posed by Russia's military, economic, and political aggression. The very principles that made Europe and NATO the pillars of democracy and stability after the defeat of fascism are now under attack by a Russian leadership that tolerates neo-Nazis, exports snipers to assassinate peaceful protesters, and uses special operation forces equipped with anti-aircraft missiles to occupy and annex neighboring countries.
Ukraine cannot be sacrificed by the international community's failure to respond decisively. Severe and wide-sweeping economic sanctions must be imposed against Russia along with the lethal military assistance needed to safeguard Ukraine's independence and preserve European stability. As Yale University historian, Timothy Snyder, recently wrote, "The battle in Ukraine means everything. Not only does Ukraine have no future without Europe, Europe will have no future without Ukraine."
The cost to Europe and the entire international community of allowing Russia to dismember and destroy the Ukrainian state is unthinkable!
International Council in Support of Ukraine