NEW YORK, April 25, 2014 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Ukrainian Deputy Foreign Minister Danylo Lubkivsky visited AJC headquarters in New York today, only days after meeting in Kiev with an AJC delegation.
Speaking at a breakfast with AJC leaders, including AJC President Stanley Bergman, Lubkivsky spoke passionately about the efforts of the Ukrainian government and people to achieve the vision of the "revolution of dignity" that took place in the Maidan, and to defend against ongoing threats from Russia.
"We are doing everything possible to stop this madness," said Lubkivsky, referring to the massing of Russian forces on the border, and interference in Ukrainian affairs.
People have a "moral right to live a normal life," said Lubkivsky, adding that "this is not just about Ukraine, but is a universal human value."
Lubkivsky repeatedly condemned the "diseases" of xenophobia, anti-Semitism and other forms of intolerance. He pledged that the government would find and prosecute those responsible for the recent distribution of anti-Semitic fliers and other manifestations of hatred, blaming Moscow and pro-Russian separatists for the fliers, calling it "Middle Ages barbarism."
He noted that units dedicated to combatting anti-Semitism and xenophobia have recently been established in several government ministries, including the Ministry of Interior, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and the Ukrainian equivalent of the FBI.
Lubkivsky stressed that what some are calling the "new Ukraine," and its desire to be rooted in Western values, is actually the "real Ukraine," a county that for so long was "hidden under the Soviet mask."
He thanked the United States, and the Jewish community specifically, for supporting Ukraine. "You are real partners," he told the AJC leaders.
The deputy foreign minister praised the UN General Assembly resolution adopted in support of Ukraine's territorial integrity. "The UN resolution sent a strong message to President Putin, and Ukrainians felt a spirit of solidarity."
He made clear that Ukraine seeks a peaceful resolution of the crisis and neighborly relations with Russia. But he also stressed that "nations have the right to fight for their homeland."
An AJC delegation led by Executive Director David Harris visited Kiev earlier this week, and met with top Ukrainian officials, including the prime minister and deputy prime minister, and with Jewish community leadership.