Canadian volunteers fed up with Ukrainian government’s inaction, issue ultimatum

Demonstrations in support of Ukraine at Toronto’s Dundas Square in December 2014

Demonstrations in support of Ukraine at Toronto’s Dundas Square in December 2014 

2015/06/16 • News

In an open letter addressed to the Ukrainian government, Canadian volunteers demand that the Ukrainian government equipes the Ukrainian military, pays off debts to the soldiers, and presents a plan to combat corruption at the Ministry of Defense by 31 July 2015. The letter states that the Canadian community has helped Ukraine’s military efforts with tens of millions of dollars, but that the support is waning because people do not see commitment from the part of the Ukrainian government. Euromaidan Press has the full text of the address:

June 14, 2015

TO: President of Ukraine, Petro Poroshenko
Prime Minister of Ukraine, Arseniy Yatsenyuk
Speaker of Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine, Volodymyr Hroisman

Letter from Canadian Volunteers and Community Organizations.

Canadian Volunteers and community organizations in Canada are working on supporting Ukrainian army since the annexation of Crimea by Russian Federation. From volunteers at the Ministry of Defence of Ukraine we hear about a bureaucracy and failure in the implementation of Government’s contracts, the indifference of civil servants and non professional duties in all organs of power, corruption. A recent financial audit of the Ministry of Defence revealed lack of funds in the amount of 382 million Hryvnias.

For more than a year, in collaboration with the Government of Canada, we have been helping the Ukrainian military fighting in eastern Ukraine, wounded soldiers and civilians, refugees. Canadian volunteers have purchased tens of millions dollars’ worth of items and shipped thousands tons of cargo. We provide:

  • Political lobbying of Ukraine’s interests in Canada.
  • Informational coverage in the Canadian media and street actions.
  • Material and military equipment supply
  • Rehabilitation of Ukrainian military in Canada as well as in Ukraine.
  • Assistance to the families of the fallen military.
  • Assistance to refugees displaced from the area of ATO.

We are informing you that financial support from the Ukrainian Diaspora in Canada, which is exhausted financially and morally, is decreasing. The reason is that the Ukrainian-Canadian Community does not see the Leadership and clearly established priorities on behalf of Ukrainian Government Institutions. We, the undersigned, consider the right to state the following demands to the President, the Government and Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine by July 31, 2015 to:

  1. Fully equip the military (those being trained and those who are in a combat zone) quality uniforms and shoes required tactical equipment and individual survival kits.
  2. Pay off all debts to the military and establish regular payments in the future.
  3. Present an open and detailed plan of actions of battling corruption at the Ministry of Defence and determine responsible those guilty of the disappearance of almost 400 million Hryvnias, as shown by the most recent audit of the Ministry.

We expect a comprehensive response from the President, The Government and Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine to put our demands in an open transparent reporting and open press conference in response to this request. In the case of non-response and failure to comply with these demands, the volunteers and community organizations in Canada who undersigned plan to take the following steps:

  1. We will minimize our collaboration with the authorities in Ukraine.
  2. We will advise members of the Government and the Parliament of Canada to change their strategy on assistance to Ukraine.
  3. We will inform Ukrainian diaspora in Canada that we did not get the answer / did not see the results as required.

Volunteers and community organizations who undersigned hope for the necessary changes and concrete actions on behalf of the President, the Government and Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine, so that we could work together effectively for the benefit of the People of Ukraine and prosperity of the State.

Glory to Ukraine!

Signed by:

Ukrainian Canadian Activist Society NGO – Antonina Kumka, Vice-President.
Volunteer Hundred of Montreal NGO – Oleksandr Biloshytskiy, representative.
Automaidan Toronto NGO – Taras Kinash, representative.

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  • puttypants

    I think this letter is inappropriate. Many Ukrainians all over the world have lent there support and sent money and other items. We must have staying power. We must continue supporting the government no matter what until the end of the war. Take issue after it is over. The government can only do so much. Ukraine is bleeding. From the EU to Russia. Ukraine stands alone and in debt. They are bleeding. You must press but you must also have patience or you let Putin win.

    • W8post

      ” inappropriate” ??? You know what’s > inappropriate < ? Slipping 400MILLION UAH through your fingers! Where did that amount go?? NOT to the soldiers risking their lives for the rest of the Ukrainians! Not to uniforms, shoes, or even first aid kits! (that all was brought in separately !!) The letter did not even mention all the MEDICAL aid Canada provided. Losing Canada is losing your biggest and most generous sponsor!!

      • Michel Cloarec

        Ukraine´s gvnt must do what is necessary as soon as possible.

    • Michel Cloarec

      Critics are not always negative. It must be some truth in the claims from the canadians. There are some critics coming from other countries also !

      • puttypants

        I don’t doubt the Canadians are telling the truth. And yes they should should had government to government talks about this and Ukrainian government needs to get the money back and jail those who stole it. I just think people are expecting miracles from the government when they are drowning in crisis. It took years to get to where they are and they expect it to be fixed in one year. I agree the military should be taken care of immediately.

  • Evelyn Myketa Livingston

    These concerns are very valid and have been expressed by others as well. Enough time has passed for meaningful changes and reforms, especially in properly equipping the military and anti-corruption.

    • puttypants

      Yes they are valid but, they should have been discussed in private with the volunteers, Canadian government and Ukrainian government not with ultimatums and not in the media. All they’re doing is playing into Putin’s hands. All they’re doing is sealing Ukraine’s fate with these kinds of information going public. Unless you want to get rid of this government and let Putin take over??? Do they want to completely demoralize all of Ukraine?

      • Geralt von Riva

        this will play way more into putins hand than the volunteer part. the volunteer part is not even covered in our news.

        “Ukraine The other national bankruptcy

        War costs, the economic crisis, inflation: The Ukraine can not repay on time their debts. A bankruptcy would have unpredictable political consequences. A guest post by Andreas Stein and Andreas Umland
        June 16, 2015 22:40 clock

        Recently, the Ukrainian government in Kiev has announced that it will possibly suspend the operation of the foreign debt of their country. The
        warning has brought the deep economic crisis in the largest purely
        European territorial state back into the consciousness of Europe. Since 2012, the economy of Ukraine is in a downtrend. The Russian annexation of the Crimea, the ongoing war against the massively supported by Moscow separatists in the east of the country and other consequences of the Russian intervention have turned it into a real crash.

        In 2014, economic output fell by 6.9 percent. In the first quarter of 2015 it shrank year on year by as much as 17.6 percent. The International Monetary Fund (IMF) had its original forecast – correct from minus 5.5 percent 3.5 percentage points down – which refers to he whole 2015. The actual decline is likely to be much higher due to the no longer in these figures considered separatist regions.

        At the end of the current year the total of sovereign debt could have almost reached the level of gross domestic product. with this background, for the leadership in Kiev it has become clear: it cant repay the forthcoming rates in the next four years of more than 27 billion euros of foreign debt and the EUR 15 billion domestic debt on time.

        Creditors Russia does not accept deferred payment

        Only in 2015 are ten billion euros to repay. Approximately 2.7 billion euros of which requires Moscow – a demand which is remarkable, considering extensive Russian demolitions and expropriations of Ukrainian state and private property in the Crimea and in eastern Ukraine. The expelled President Viktor Yanukovych had this loan received in late 2013 as a reward from the Kremlin for his then not signing the Association Agreement Ukraine with the European Union. One can only guess in which pockets the money has landed. Russia has already signaled that a suspension of payment is not an option. Also, most of the private debenture holders are apparently unwilling to deferral.

        However, Kiev expects a haircut of 40 percent. Creditors face a choice: will they agree with the government? Or will they dispense in the event of bankruptcy a larger part of or the entire sum?

        The IMF gave Kiev a blank check for the negotiations with the foreign creditors. This means that the fund will continue with it around 16 billion-euro aid program even with a lack of agreement. € 1.5 billion of these funds will come in the coming weeks.

        In the lossy first war in 2014 succeeded the Ukrainian government, to pay its debt through a tough savings policy with high social costs. At the end Kiev even paid back more than it took up to new loans. Half of fresh money came from the IMF – and to get them, the Ukraine had to consolidate their budgets further.

        The government increased the subsidized tariffs for electricity, gas, water and heat to the population repeatedly. This enormous social incision and the more than 60-percent devaluation of the national currency hryvnia continued to drop the standard of living since mid-2014 for the population dramatically. The inflation rate climbed after several increases in energy prices in May 2015 to 58 percent. One million households had to apply for energy subsidies.

        80 percent of poverties

        Meanwhile, the United Nations has been calculated that 80 percent of Ukrainians live under the poverty line. For them are less than 135 euros per month available. Frozen are the already meager minimum wage equivalent of about 53 euros and pensions. The average pension is 62 euros per month. For retired which are working is a new law, which even reduced the pension by 15 percent. Many rely on help from relatives and food from the garden. Beggars and street vendors dominate more and more the image of cities. The population in working age earns an average of 170 euros. Thus they are doing it not much better than the poor.

        In addition, the income disparities within the country are considerable. The
        average Kievan brings still about 290 euros per month home and has in
        the comparatively wealthy capital possibly a second income. By contrast, workers and employees in the western Ukrainian poorhouse, the Galician District Ternopil get only 120 euros per month. Officially registered unemployment is indeed less than two percent. In fact, however, even with about ten percent, calculated unemployment rate according to the
        standards of the International Labour Organisation (ILO) the real situation is only partially reflected.

        Thus undeclared work and seasonal work abroad are widely used. Despite
        the newly built Russian obstacles and Russia’s own economic problems
        will continue, for example a million Ukrainians work in the northeastern
        neighborship. There are also hundreds of thousands of Ukrainian migrant workers in the EU countries. They transfered last year, according to the central bank statistics about 4.8 billion euros to the homeland. The real number could be much higher. According to calculations by the Ministry of Economy, the share of shadow economy grew by a further seven per cent and now stands at 42 percent.

        Prices should continue to rise

        IMF and Finance Minister Natalija Jaresko yet spread optimism. The downward trend has been reached and the next year it should go with two percent plus upwards again. The recently achieved relative stabilization of the hryvnia, something rising foreign exchange reserves, a small budget surplus in the first four months and the last reached trade surplus be cited as evidence. also by the decline of the gas price in the wake of the oil price Kiev has more room for maneuver and can reduce the chronic deficit of the state company Naftohaz Ukrainy.

        Despite it another increase in energy prices for the population has been announced for the autumn. Their discontent is rising. The reference to the additional burden of the state budget by the war is now less accepted than it was 2014th

        Whether there will be a sovereign default or not, depends on the ongoing negotiations of Kiev with its creditors. It would lead to a new devaluation spiral and fuel inflation again. Already accumulate smaller social protests that are welcome by the Kremlin and accompanied medially. Should
        the economic situation continue to destabilize, the country risks a wave
        of protests with unpredictable political consequences.”

        http://www.zeit.de/wirtschaft/2015-06/ukraine-wirtschaft-staatsschulden-armut

        • puttypants

          What else can Ukraine do to stop the downward spiral? How did this happen? Many of us all over the world have sent money. How can Putin do this and get away with it? Criminal. SAD. How disheartening.

          • W8post

            In this case there is no relation between Puto and the downward spiral; this is an internal Ukrainian affair. The leak were the money is pilfering MUST be stopped. Yanukovych alone [and don’t underestimate Azarov!!] is able to pay for this year’s debt. It helps to find the former Governments’ money to pay of ALL the debts. The question remains, is there a will to recover it??

          • puttypants

            Has anyone been able to tract down Putin’s assets? These guys know well how to hid their money thru all kinds of companies etc., etc., You obviously don’t think the government is busy enough?? They’re just treading water right now and not knowing which crisis to attend to first. I think people are expecting miracles. There aren’t any. This will be a slow painful process.

          • gmab

            US knows how much Putin has & even threatened him to reveal this to the Russian public. Britain also has a good idea since alot of Russian oligarch money goes there. The G7 countries all froze bank accounts of oligarchs on the sanctions lists. Ukraine has to do the paperwork in order for other countries to freeze Yanu’s assets & his “Fixer” Kurchenko. It is alot of work, Turkey & Iraq have done it & received back billions to their country. Ukraine should hire the private International Law Firms that trace such corrupt, complicated schemes & provide the proof ack to Ukraine. The west should provide some Aid money for this purpose specifically.

          • puttypants

            I agree that’s what they need to do but they need the money to do it! If they’ve already threatened Putin to out him to his people it obviously didn’t work he continue’s to destroy Ukraine. Russians may not care that’s he’s robbed them of billions. They’re so used to corruption that’s all they’ve ever known. And they like their leaders crazy.

    • puttypants

      Evelyn…Ukraine is bleeding…where does the government get the money to take care of these needs??? Do you believe Poroshenko and Yat’s are taking it or allowing it to be taken? Do you think changes and reforms will stop what’s going on that easily? Really enough time has passed. One year in a system that has been corrupt for centuries? All the government can do is run around and plug holes. If you think others can run the government better let’s hear your suggestions. Me thinks you’re trying to kill Ukraine.

  • Michel Cloarec

    I hope the ukrainian gvnt will study and take into consideration this appeal from the canadians . The defence of Ukraine must have the highest priority and therefore all must be done to sucess in doing so !

    • W8post

      “Study”?? that’s what the Europeans do for over a year now, with the ‘generous’ help of the USA -advising by the ‘study’, they’re good at it- ; ACTION is what is needed, and URGENTLY! Stop studying and take a look at Poland, Lithuania and yes, Canada! Frau Merkel, are you listening?

      • puttypants

        All this kind of infighting between Ukrainian’s does is reinforce Europe’s opinion of Ukraine that they are incapable of running their affairs…that they are corrupt beyond help. That will give them an excuse to totally walk away from Ukraine. This is what you’re pissing between each other will do. It happened during the communist revolution, it happened in WW2. And now you’re doing it again!!! Infighting will kill Ukraine. The people who stole this money should be found and sent to prison for the rest of their lives just stop broadcasting it to the entire world!!

        • Evelyn Myketa Livingston

          Im sorry that you see the action taken by the canadian volunteers as infighting. I belive we all have the future of Ukraine in our hearts and keeping silent on these most fundamental issues could lead to much more dissatisfaction.

          • puttypants

            That’s true. However, all I said is it should have been taken up privately between both governments and volunteers. All you’ve done is added fuel to Russia’s fire! Please read what I’ve said…it should not have gone public.

          • Evelyn Myketa Livingston

            Do you actually believe this has not been discussed in private? Do you think it was not raised before?

        • W8post

          Corruption! where?

      • Michel Cloarec

        I am and I have been upset about the situation in Ukraine for long time . But sometime I wonder what the Ua gvnt does !

      • puttypants

        Ukrainians must learn from Israel and the Jewish dispora…they try very hard to stick together. They don’t always agree with each other but the understand the importance of showing nothing but support for other jews publicly. Ukrainians need to start doing the same thing. Jews would not have survived if it wasn’t for that. Ukrainians start being smart and stop nit picking and pissing and moaning about all that’s wrong in the country. Quietly, do something about it.

  • Ihor Molodecky

    The criticism is valid. The ultimatum is not. These three groups do not speak for Ukrainian-Canadians. They represent a tiny fragment of the diaspora here. Any messages of this severity should come through the Ukrainian Canadian Congress. Check the Russian media…they are already using this letter against us. Also the Euromaidan headline really sucks.

    • Michel Cloarec

      You are right, it was not very diplomatical to do that way !

  • Marcus Sefoy

    Democracy might actually be one of the most dangerous political systems ever created.

    Nations that adopt democracy go from successful nations to failed nations, from poor nations to even poorer, from corrupt to even more corrupt. Nations with ethnic violence turn more violent. The more political parties a nation has, the bigger the mess and confusion. Democracies are slow to reform and slow to adapt to changes.

    These statements are facts, but we choose not to believe in them.

    A Princeton study shows that the U.S is not a democracy, but an oligarchy. The two parties are controlled by the elite and the policies reflect their interests. And yet it is the U.S that is promoting democracy and spreading it around the world.

    Europe is today in a state of destruction. Southern Europe has already collapsed, and the immigration flow from the Middle East and North Africa (where democracy has been introduced) will lead to a massive collapse of Europe.

    But democracy is the right thing to do, there is no alternative to democracy. The faith in democracy is as close to a religion as it gets, and we will follow democracy to the gates of hell.

    • Michel Cloarec

      What is the alternative mr opportunist ? Stalinism, Hitlerism, Maoism , Islamist ? The slow democracy as you say has kept you and the rest of the world out of WW ! The poor democracy (even destruction as you say) is giving in Europe the Highest GDP in the world !
      Or you are a defactor or a sovjet troll , but not a good one at it, it is so obvious where you get your informations from . Russia (RF) is selling out Siberia to survive ! 2% of asyl seekers to EU are coming from RF, 200 000 RF citizens are leaving each years, Inflation in Rf is nearly 27 %, the interest rates is cut down again. 22,9 M RF citizens are living under poverty level . So bravo for democracy [ á la russe ]

      • Marcus Sefoy

        Democracy is a beautiful ideal, but so was Communism too. They both promises heaven on earth and they both claim to be universal, but they have not lived up to their promises. They have both caused enormous suffering to people around the world.

        There is something almost religious about our faith in democracy that makes us defend, lie and even die for its ideal, and that should ring some alarm bells for us. It might be an utopia that is impossible to realize.

        • gmab

          It’s still better than anything else out there. I live in a democracy and we have rule of law, justice, fairness, change, not always slow, and respect for our country and our neighbours. A good standard of living and no war. It is not just a beautiful ideal. It’s reality.

          • Marcus Sefoy

            Democracy was allowed to bloom under favorable circumstances. The world was divided between the democratic west and the communist east, since communism was a failed system it offered no competition to the democratic west.

            After the fall of communism, the democrats started to believe in their universal utopia of Liberal Democracy, Free Market Capitalism and Universal Values and announced their “New World Order”, which is now turning into the New World Disorder.

            Today the west is faced with real competition from China. China is not a communist state. China is not a Liberal Democracy. China is Meritocratic System with a Chinese Market Economy.

        • puttypants

          Hey…where has democracy failed??? We know communism has failed all over the world. I too live in a democracy and I wouldn’t change it for any other system. That means I take being informed very seriously about what my government is doing.

    • Gryzelda Wrr, Polish Emirates

      Why?

  • puttypants

    Ukraine must be courageous, they must be patient, they must stay strong. Putin and his regime are trying every trick in the book to divide Ukraine and they’re doing a pretty good job. Don’t you think if the government had money they would be taking care of all these needs. Do you think the government is intentionally not supporting these volunteers? The government is bleeding right now with the IMF, investors, other governments all forcing them to do things without any money and little support. I agree they must find how that money has disappeared but my complaint is doing it publicly.

  • gmab

    I hope this matter receives the attention it deserves from the Gov’t of Ukraine. Better tracking of foreign aid packages should be mandatory & transparent to auditors from each country. It is the lives of Ukrainian soldiers at stake here & a huge waste of lives if they died for lack of proper equipment. There should be a Canadian volunteer(s) stationed in Ukraine to receive the cargo, disperse it and formally track it, whether it goes to Min of Defence or private volunteer groups. Might work better.

    • puttypants

      I agree. They shouldn’t have let the money go thru the government in the first place.

  • puttypants

    Charlie Rose is interviewing Putin this week. Everyone on this site needs to ask their embassies to ask him to give equal opportunity to Ukrainian PM yat’s his english is better than Poroshenko’s. Call the Station. Make sure they know you’re unhappy that Charlie Rose is giving Putin a US stage to lie on.