Activists launch campaign to secure US sanctions against Russia



Activists in the USA have launched a campaign to gather support for a bill called H.R. 5094 STAND which would cement the USA’s condemnation of Russia’s illegal annexation of Crimea.

The bill, coauthored by Reps. Eliot Engel and Adam Kinzinger, passed the House of Representatives on September 22nd this year and is currently stalled by Sen. Corker in the Senate Foreign Relations committee. According to the activists, if it is not passed by December 9th, the new administration can roll-back the US sanctions on Russia and may recognize annexed Ukrainian Crimea as part of Russia.

Similar to the USA’s non-recognition policy of the USSR’s occupation of the Baltic States known as the “Stimson Doctrine,” the bill would prevent the recognition of Russia’s occupation of Crimea, which took place in March 2014 after the Euromaidan revolution.

In particular, the bill would enact a ban on any federal agency recognizing Russian occupation of Crimea, tighten current Crimea-related sanctions against Russia, urge the US President to act to prevent NATO members supplying arms to Russia, extends the Magnitsky act to all territories under Russian occupation, and would open up Crimean Tatar broadcasting under the auspices of the BBG.

The bill has to be passed through the Senate by 16 December 2016, otherwise it will have to be reintroduced later on or abandoned. With evidence of  Donald Trump’s rapprochement with Russia growing, so are fears that the President-elect would quash any legislation unfavorable to Russia, leaving it free to carve up Syria, Ukraine, the Baltics, and beyond.

Thus, activists from the Ukraine Freedom Support Group have launched an initiative to contact their representatives in the Senate, especially those on the Foreign Affairs Committee where the bill is currently stalled, by phone or email, urging them to support the passage of the bill. It was this approach that helped the same core of activists pass the Ukraine Freedom Support Act of 2014 through Congress, which imposed broad sanctions on Russia’s defense sector and increased military and non-military assistance to Ukraine.

In an interview to Voice of America, one of the organizers Constantin Kostenko told that the group, which includes activists from all over the USA, is not financed by anybody:

“We are driven by the spirit of Maidan – “go and do it,” by the desire to help Ukraine, and help America be the country that it should be – a leader of democracy, a country which leads the fight of good against evil.”

Find more information about the initiative on the website and facebook page.

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