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HomePolicy IssuesUnited with Ukraine

United with Ukraine

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International Principles Challenged by Russia

Moscow’s actions in Ukraine threaten to set new precedents on European soil, undermining these basic international principles vital to peace and security:   

  • The borders and territorial integrity of a state cannot be changed by force.   
  •  Citizens in a democracy have an inherent right to determine their country’s future.   
  • All members of the international community are bound by common rules and must face consequences if they break their solemn commitments.   

These principles extend beyond Ukraine.   

These principles extend beyond Europe.   

These principles are the underpinnings of the international order that together the United States and our Allies and partners have built and sustained.  

In challenging these principles, Russia challenges the international system itself and unravels our transatlantic alliance, erodes our unity, and pressures democracies into failure.   

Diplomacy is the only responsible way to resolve this crisis.  

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U.S. Support for Ukraine

Since 2014, the United States has committed billions in assistance to Ukraine, including security and non-security assistance.    

Our support includes military, humanitarian, and economic assistance to help Ukraine defend itself from Russia’s unprovoked further invasion, and to ensure the Government of Ukraine can function effectively during the conflict and support the people of Ukraine as they endure attacks from Russia’s forces.    

The United States is the largest single-country donor of humanitarian assistance to Ukraine. Individuals seeking to leave Ukraine can find information from UNHCR on where to go for help.   The State Department has partnered with to address the humanitarian needs of the people affected by Russia’s attack against Ukraine.  

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Sanctions and Economic Measures

In March 2022, the United States banned the import of Russian energy products. This was another step to deprive President Putin of the economic resources he uses to continue his needless war of choice. The United States continues to coordinate with major oil consumers and producers towards a collective investment to secure stability and global energy supplies, including for Ukraine. 

The Department of the Treasury also expanded its Russia-sanctions authorities.  The Secretary of the Treasury, in consultation with Secretary Blinken, identified the aerospace, marine, and electronics sectors of the Russian Federation economy pursuant to Executive Order 14024.  This allows sanctions to be imposed on any individual or entity determined to operate or have operated in any of those sectors and provides an expanded ability to swiftly impose additional economic costs on Russia for its war of choice in Ukraine. 

In response to Russia’s aggression, the United States, along with our allies and partners, imposed severe and immediate economic costs on Russia.  These measures include sweeping financial sanctions that had an immediate impact on Russia’s economy and export controls that will cut off Russia’s access to vital technological inputs, atrophy its industrial base, and undercut Russia’s strategic ambitions to exert influence on the world stage.   

Russia will feel this pain. Putin and his cronies will feel this pain. It will accumulate over time. We’ve targeted Russia’s largest banks—cut them off from the U.S. financial system and frozen their assets. They are blacklisted globally and the Russian financial system—its principal connection to international trade and investment—has been tarred.  Our export controls choked off Russia’s vital technological imports

This is not what we wanted to do. This is not the best outcome for the people of Ukraine or Russia. But Putin’s war of choice has required that he suffer the consequences of his actions. 

A woman stands in the rubble of her demolished home. AP Image
A woman woefully places her hand over her mouth as she stands in front of a destroyed building AP Photo/Emilio Morenatti

Aerial view of six destroyed armored vehicles. AP Photo/Rodrigo Abd, File

Exposing Russia’s Destabilizing Actions

Over the past three decades, Russia has:

  • invaded three neighboring countries—Ukraine, Georgia, and Moldova;
  • interfered in elections;
  • used chemical weapons to attempt assassinations both on foreign soil and domestically (Skripal, Navalny); and 
  • violated international arms control agreements.  

We cannot forget Russia’s illegal seizure and ongoing occupation of Crimea, or the conflict in eastern Ukraine, which Russia-led and supported forces instigated and continue to sustain. The United States is committed to a diplomatic resolution to the Donbas conflict and advocates implementation of the Minsk agreements, to which Russia is a signatory. 

For more information on the history of Russia’s ongoing aggression towards Ukraine, see this  timeline on how Ukrainians suffered from Russia’s actions from 2014-2021

In response to Russia’s aggression, the United States, along with our allies and partners, has imposed severe economic penalties on Russia.  These measures include sweeping financial sanctions that impact Russia’s economy, and export controls that limit Russia’s access to vital technological inputs, atrophy its industrial base, and undercut its ambitions to exert influence on the world stage. 

Learn more

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Civilians Continue to Suffer as Russia’s Aggression Against Ukraine Intensifies

In 2014, after millions of Ukrainians protested for a democratic and European future, Russia manufactured a crisis, invaded and occupied Ukraine’s territory in Crimea, and orchestrated a war in eastern Ukraine with proxies it leads, trains, supplies, and finances.   

By the end of 2021, 2.9 million Ukrainians remained in desperate need of assistance and protection in a humanitarian catastrophe that demands more attention from the international community.

Russian propaganda efforts include:  

  • malign social media operations,  
  • overt and covert online Russia-supported media outlets,  
  • the infection of TV and radio programming with disinformation,  
  • conferences designed to influence attendees into falsely believing that Ukraine—not Russia—is at fault for heightened tensions in the region, 
  • leveraging of cyber operations to deface media outlets and conduct “hack and release” operations—that is, hacking, and then releasing private data and communications.
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Two men load supplies in a small boat while a third man stands guard.

Energy Security

The President has said that every tool is on the table to protect American businesses and consumers from rising prices.  We continue to coordinate with major oil-producing consumers and producers towards a collective investment to secure stability and global energy supplies.  

We’ve intentionally calibrated our sanctions measures to maximize pain on the Russian economy and minimize economic effects to the U.S. and our allies and partners.  U.S. sanctions are not designed to disrupt the flow of energy from Russia.

Energy Prices 

The linkages between Russia and the U.S. economy are small.   U.S. sanctions are designed specifically to not disrupt the supply of global energy, while maximizing the pain for President Putin and the Russian state.    

We were pleased to see other public comments aligned with President Biden’s message reflecting our common focus and willingness to address significant market volatility or supply shortages that may result from President Putin’s war of choice.  

President Biden is doing everything he can to reduce the impact on energy costs for the American people.  That means engaging closely with partners around the world, and considering a range of options that are all on the table to reduce the impact on the market.  

Nord Stream 2 

Russia’s flagrant violation of international law in repeatedly invading Ukraine’s sovereign territory demands a firm response from the international community.  Germany’s decision to halt certification of the Nord Stream 2 pipeline—which the U.S. Administration has long opposed as a Russian geopolitical project—remains an important element of that response.  In this context, the Secretary terminated the waiver of sanctions on Nord Stream 2 AG, its CEO Matthias Warnig, and its corporate officers.  NS2AG and Warnig are now sanctioned, and the company’s corporate officers are subject to visa restrictions.  Other individuals and entities that knowingly engage in sanctionable conduct related to Nord Stream 2 face similar sanctions risk; we urge them to cease their activities.  

A pre-teen boy holds a cat in a damaged building. AP Photo/Evgeniy Maloletka, File

Cyber Security

Ahead of its invasion of Ukraine, the Russian government launched wide-scale malicious cyber activity against the Ukrainian government and banking systems.  

The United States had already been working with the government of Ukraine and other partners to help them respond to and recover from cyber incidents and to strengthen the cyber resilience of critical infrastructure.  

We also cooperate with Allies and partners to disrupt and respond to malicious cyber activity.  That includes work to share intelligence regarding malicious cyber techniques and ensure the global community is prepared to rapidly call out malicious cyber activity where appropriate.  U.S. officials have met with colleagues across the region to discuss cyber resilience and deterrence of cyber-attacks and to ensure we are prepared to address any cyber-related contingency.   

The global community must be prepared to shine a light on malicious cyber activity and be prepared to hold actors accountable.  As President Biden has said repeatedly, if Russia attacks the United States or our Allies through asymmetric means, such as disruptive cyber activity targeting our companies or critical infrastructure, we are prepared to respond

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A woman measures a destroyed window surrounded by debris. AP Photo/Vadim Ghirda

Humanitarian Assistance

The United States closely coordinates with international partners to monitor the situation in Ukraine and works with those partners to address humanitarian needs in Ukraine and the region. We base our response on an assessment of needs, in coordination with the Government of Ukraine, the United Nations and other humanitarian partners and donors. Our humanitarian partners seek to effectively deliver needs-based assistance with impartiality, humanity, neutrality, and independence.   

U.S. humanitarian assistance includes: 

  • food
  • safe drinking water
  • shelter
  • winterization services, 
  • emergency health care, and 
  • protection to communities affected by ongoing fighting.   

We work closely with European allies and partners on the front lines of our response—as well as international organizations and NGOs—to lessen the human suffering caused by Russia’s further invasion of Ukraine.   

The State Department engages diplomatically to support neighboring countries to keep their borders open to those seeking international protection, including those who may experience communication barriers with border agents because of disability or other factors.   

As in any refugee situation, we call on members of the international community to respond to the needs of those seeking protection at their borders in a way that is consistent with the principle of non-refoulement and their respective obligations under international law.  

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Human Rights and Vulnerable Populations

The U.S. government supports organizations that work with vulnerable populations in Ukraine, including: 

  • Russian and Belarusian dissidents
  • journalists and anti-corruption activists
  • members of the LGBTQI+ community
  • women’s groups
  • persons with disabilities, and 
  • religious and ethnic minorities.  

During Russia’s further invasion, we have encouraged all local US citizens to act on contingency plans to keep themselves and the people they work with safe.   

We are in close contact with the government of Ukraine and international humanitarian organizations that serve displaced populations, including refugees and internally displaced persons. We continue to engage with these international organizations as well as support work to accommodate the needs of people in need of protection, including those who are particularly vulnerable to human rights abuses.  

The U.S. government is:

  • monitoring the situation closely, 
  • coordinating with other donors, 
  • assessing the evolving humanitarian needs of the people of Ukraine, and 
  • liaising with partners to ensure that they are able to rapidly scale up or adjust assistance should needs require.   

We support protection efforts for members of groups vulnerable to human rights abuses, efforts to maintain access to information, and efforts to document human rights violations and abuses to hold perpetrators accountable. In some cases, we refer individuals to various emergency assistance programs that offer relocation, medical expenses, or other unexpected costs.  

In addition to supporting vulnerable populations, we support accountability for human rights offenders. The world has witnessed the horrors of Bucha, Irpin, and Borodyanka. More abuses within temporarily occupied territories continue. Together with partners from academia, civil society, and allied governments, we preserve evidence of crimes to inform fact-finding missions and deter future violence. See independent research, supported by the U.S. government.

A young girl dressed in orange and wearing a flower crown waves a small Ukrainian flag. U.S. Air Force/Senior Airman Madeline Herzog

Supporting Ukraine’s Independence and Future

The United States reaffirms its unwavering support for Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity within its internationally recognized borders, extending to its territorial waters. 

The U.S.-Ukraine relationship serves as a cornerstone for security, democracy, and human rights in Ukraine and the broader region. 

We will continue to support Ukraine in its efforts to advance its Euro-Atlantic aspirations and to restore and secure Ukraine’s internationally recognized borders. 

Lasting peace and prosperity require respect for the sovereignty of countries and for human rights. These principles are enshrined in the UN Charter and the Universal Declaration on Human Rights—foundational documents that secure territorial integrity and individual dignity.  

NATO has been the cornerstone of an unprecedented period of peace and prosperity for more than 70 years, while the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) remains the only fully inclusive trans-Atlantic/European/Eurasian political organization. Participating states are committed to upholding democracy, rule of law, human rights, tolerance, pluralism, and media freedoms.  

Ukraine, Georgia, and all other states in Europe have the right to choose the best futures for their people—including through their work and aspiration to join the Euro-Atlantic community and NATO. 

Over thirty years ago, the Verkhovna Rada, Ukraine’s legislature, made a bold choice , to chart a new course for Ukraine as an independent, democratic, and sovereign state centered on European values.    

Ukraine won freedom from the Soviet Union’s totalitarian dictatorship because of the Ukrainians’ love of liberty. This love of liberty runs deep in Ukrainian history, since the days of Volodymyr the Great.   

The United States and Ukraine share a desire for a bright and prosperous future for all Ukrainians. The United States remains determined to support  Ukraine’s sovereignty, territorial integrity,  and Euro-Atlantic aspirations.   

Young people in traditional Ukrainian clothing release two white doves.

For over 20 years, the Ambassadors Fund for Cultural Preservation (AFCP) has supported more than 1,000 projects in 130+ countries—including Ukraine. 

U.S. Department of State

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