As members of the Association of Ukrainians in Tasmania, we abhor the actions of the Russian government towards the Ukrainian government and its people.

Since Ukrainian independence in 1991, the people of Ukraine have continued to be under Moscow’s control and interference, and have had little chance of asserting their own national identity. Through successive regimes since the 18th century Russia has laid claim to the eastern part of Ukraine (calling it Little Russia) as well as Crimea, instilling the Russian language and culture.

The Russian Federation however is actively shutting down Ukrainian schools, cultural centres and the use of the Ukrainian language in Russia. Any expression of being Ukrainian is labelled extremist and hence the terms fascists, nationalists and terrorists.

In eastern Ukraine where the population is divided between Ukrainian and Russian descendants there has previously been no ethnic friction. Russian schools have existed alongside Ukrainian schools with no hindrances.

The expansionist policies of Moscow’s regime have not diminished since the breakup of the Soviet Union. The international community needs to be worried and view Moscow’s rhetoric with great skepticism.

A. Farrow (president) and M. Mihal (secretary)

Association of Ukrainians in Tasmania

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