H.Res. 447: Supporting the democratic and European aspirations of the people of Ukraine and their right to choose their own future free of intimidation and fear, as amended

H.Res. 447

Supporting the democratic and European aspirations of the people of Ukraine and their right to choose their own future free of intimidation and fear, as amended

Sponsor
Rep. Eliot L. Engel

Date
February 10, 2014 (113th Congress, 2nd Session)

Staff Contact
Communications

Floor Situation

On Monday, February 10, 2014, the House will consider H.Res. 447, a resolution Supporting the democratic and European aspirations of the people of Ukraine and their right to choose their own future free of intimidation and fear, as amended, under a suspension of the rules.  The bill was introduced on December 16, 2013 by Rep. Elliott Engel (D-NY) and referred to the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, which ordered the bill reported, as amended, by unanimous consent.

Bill Summary

The “Resolved” clause of H.Res. 447 establishes that the U.S. House of Representatives: 1) greatly values the relationship that the United States has established with Ukraine since its independence in 1991; 2) supports the democratic and European aspirations of the people of Ukraine and their right to choose their own future free of intimidation and fear; 3) calls on the U.S. and the EU to work together to support a peaceful resolution to the current crisis; 4) urges the Government of Ukraine, Ukrainian opposition parties, and protestors to exercise restraint and avoid confrontation; 5) condemns all violence and calls on the Government to bring to justice those responsible for violence; 6) welcomes the repeal by the Ukrainian parliament of some of the anti-democratic measures adopted in mid-January, and urges President Yanukovych to engage in substantive talks with opposition leaders; 7) urges the U.S. and EU to continue to make clear to Ukrainian leaders that those who engage in violence against peaceful protestors will be held accountable; 8) supports the measures taken by the State Department to revoke the visas of Ukrainians linked to current violence; and 9) urges all parties to engage in constructive, sustained dialogue in order to find a peaceful solution to Ukraine’s current political and economic crisis.

Background

On November 21, 2013, Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych suspended negotiations on the Ukraine-European Union Association Agreement, one week before it was due to be signed at the EU’s Eastern Partnership Summit in Vilnius, Lithuania.[1]  The Ukrainian government had come under intense pressure from Russia to not sign the agreement, including temporarily tightening customs rules in order to force the Ukrainian government to capitulate to Russian demands.[2]  Consequently, hundreds of thousands of Ukrainians began peacefully protesting in Kyiv and numerous other cities throughout the country.  These protestors have expressed their support for democracy, the rule of law, government accountability, and closer ties with the European Union.

On November 30, 2013, police violently dispersed peaceful protestors in Kyiv’s Independence Square which resulted in many injuries and dozens of arrests.[3]  In December, police raided opposition media outlets and the headquarters of the Fatherland Party, a prominent coalition opposition party led by former Prime Minister and current political prisoner, Yulia Tymoshenko.[4]  Despite President Yanukovych’s promise that he would engage in peace talks with opposition leaders, police again attempted to forcibly evict protestors from locations throughout Kyiv.[5]

On January 16, 2014, the Ukrainian parliament (controlled by President Yanukovych’s party), passed legislation that severely limited the right to peacefully protest, constrained freedom of speech and independent media, and restricted civil society organizations.[6]  The passage of these measures, in addition to Yanukovych’s refusal to engage in substantive dialogue with opposition leaders precipitated significant violence in subsequent days.  As a result, several protestors died and hundreds were injured.  On January 28, as a result of growing opposition pressure, Ukrainian Prime Minister Mykola Azarov resigned (along with his cabinet), and the parliament invalidated its anti-demonstration laws hours after his resignation.[7]  Opposition leaders have called for snap elections and a new constitution, while the protests continue throughout Ukraine’s major urban areas.      

Cost

No cost is expected.

Additional Information

For questions or further information contact the GOP Conference at 5-5107.