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Pascrell Urges President to take Swift and Decisive Action in Ukraine

Calls for additional targeted sanctions, including visa bans and asset freezes
As the dire situation in Ukraine continues to deteriorate, today U.S. Rep. Bill Pascrell, Jr. (D-NJ-09) urged President Obama to impose additional targeted sanctions, including visa bans and asset freezes, on members of Ukraine’s government and business community who have been complicit in the violence against peaceful protesters. Rep. Pascrell convened a meeting today in his district office with prominent Ukrainian American organizations to discuss the ongoing crisis in their homeland.


"It is vital that the U.S. act now to prevent Ukraine from descending further into chaos," Rep. Pascrell wrote in a letter to President Obama. "We cannot allow this situation to devolve into all out civil war, as we have seen in Syria. Again, I urge you to impose immediate sanctions on Ukrainian government officials and those in the Ukrainian business community who have enabled heinous acts of violence against protesters."

The full text of the letter follows:

February 20, 2014

President Barack Obama
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW
Washington, DC 20500


Dear President Obama,

I write today as the dire situation in Ukraine continues to deteriorate in order to urge you to impose additional targeted sanctions, including visa bans and asset freezes, on members of Ukraine’s government and business community who have been complicit in the violence against peaceful protesters.

As you know, violent crackdowns on dissidents have created chaos in Kiev and throughout Ukraine. This week, Ukraine’s government has escalated the situation, taking up arms against its own citizens in order to quash legitimate political dissent. It is critical that the United States act using economic policy, travel bans and with an aggressive diplomatic effort to make clear to Ukraine’s leaders and to the world that this violence will not be tolerated.

On February 10, the House of Representatives passed H. Res. 447, which called for “the administration to consider additional targeted sanctions against those who authorize or engage in the use of force.” I commend your administration’s willingness to impose travel bans on Ukrainian officials and your strong statements opposing violence. Now is the time to impose additional sanctions, not only against the government officials who have authorized the use force, but against the oligarchs who enable them.

I am proud to represent a large and active Ukrainian American community in New Jersey’s Ninth Congressional District. I held a meeting today with a number of prominent Ukranian-American organizations and they expressed a deep desire for a solution to this crisis which respects the fundamental rights of their sisters and brothers in Ukraine to free speech, free press, and peaceful assembly. They also made clear to me that they believe that current President Viktor Yanukovych must step down in order for the Ukrainian people to come together to form a lasting political solution to this crisis.

It is vital that the U.S. act now to prevent Ukraine from descending further into chaos. We cannot allow this situation to devolve into all out civil war, as we have seen in Syria. Again, I urge you to impose immediate sanctions on Ukrainian government officials and those in the Ukrainian business community who have enabled heinous acts of violence against protesters. Thank you for your consideration of this important request and I look forward to your reply.

Sincerely,

Bill Pascrell, Jr.
Member of Congress

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