The United Macedonian Diaspora (UMD) is deeply concerned with the current instability facing Ukraine, especially following the recent annexation of Crimea by the Russian Federation. During these trying times for the Ukrainian people, UMD strongly urges U.S., NATO, and EU leaders to offer clear and full support to Ukraine, particularly the necessary aid packages to help alleviate the economic burdens, which will help sustain Ukraine and its people.
In light of the robust defense of Ukraine’s sovereignty and right to self-determination by the U.S., EU, and NATO, UMD urges consistency in international policy. The U.S., EU, and NATO cannot be selective in their defense of national rights; the same principles should be applied in the case of Macedonia’s name, which has prevented the country from joining NATO and progressing in its EU membership due to Greece’s objections. The ICJ ruled that Greece breached its international obligations under the United Nations Interim Accord, yet the U.S., EU, and NATO did not ensure Greece abide by this ruling.
UMD strongly believes the Ukrainian people need to receive a compelling and actionable message from their NATO and European Union (EU) allies that unambiguously ensures people’s right to choose their political leaders in a free and democratic manner. The future of Ukraine is as a member of NATO and the EU, which the U.S. has been a proponent of, in an effort to secure a Europe, whole, free, and at peace. The U.S. and the United Kingdom, have an obligation under, the Budapest Memorandum of 1994 to protect Ukraine’s territorial integrity.
“NATO leaders failed to offer Membership Action Plans to Georgia and Ukraine at the 2008 Bucharest Summit, and as a result of those failed decisions, we saw unrest and aggression against Georgia in 2008, and now in 2014 against Ukraine,” said UMD Chairman Stojan Nikolov. “What’s next? Macedonia was also blocked from securing a NATO membership invitation in Bucharest because of the petty arguments, and selfish action of one NATO member – Greece. When will we learn from our mistakes? Dissension and complacency are luxuries that NATO cannot afford any longer, and the time to act united and resolute is now, not tomorrow.”
UMD has been leading efforts in Washington, D.C. to educate American policymakers on the need to see NATO enlargement on the table for the upcoming NATO Summit in the United Kingdom. As NATO remains a force for peace, prosperity, and freedom around the world, UMD urges the U.S and its EU partners to offer a Membership Action Plan to Ukraine at the upcoming Summit, alongside Bosnia-Herzegovina and Georgia, and invitations to Macedonia and Montenegro to join NATO.
UMD strongly believes that clear and full support of NATO enlargement, at the upcoming UK Summit, will not only produce stability in the region of Central, Eastern, and Southeast Europe, but it will ensure that such conflicts do not repeat and persist.
Relations between Macedonia and Ukraine were established on July 23, 1993, when Ukraine recognized the independence of the Republic of Macedonia. However, the connection between Macedonian and Ukrainian people, both predominantly of Orthodox faith, dates much further back, to the 10th century, to the time of Princess Olga of Kyiv and Saint Clement of Ohrid. More recently, in 1922, Ukrainians fled Ukraine in order to avoid civil war and escape Stalin’s oppression by settling in Macedonia, where their descendants still remain today.
Cultural, religious, linguistic, and ethnic affinities between the two nations reinforce their relations and mutual interests. In Macedonia, there are two registered Ukrainian organizations – “The Society of Macedonian-Ukrainian Friendship and Cooperation,” established in 1994 and “The Ukrainian Community in the Republic of Macedonia,” officially registered in 2004.