The US-Ukraine Foundation has brought together various specialists within its Friends of Ukraine Network initiative to build a rational consensus for recommendations on assistance for Ukraine.  The following three sets of proposals were produced in March of 2019 as a practical and, therefore, actionable set of policy recommendations:

The Friends of Ukraine Network (FOUN) Economic Security Task Force Recommendations for Further Assistance


The Economic Security Task force is focused on four areas that have major implications for Ukraine’s economy: the general economic situation, the energy sector, humanitarian issues and the defense sector. The respective area group chairs are Anders Aslund, Ed Chow, Dawn Calabia and David Rigsby. The overall task force chairman is Ambassador Roman Popadiuk. While the general economic situation appears to have improved as seen by the continued cooperation with the International Monetary Fund and the lowered inflation rate, Ukraine continues to struggle with issues of transparency and corruption which hamper business development. Added to these economic challenges is the most recent Russian aggression and activities in the Sea of Azov that have Interfered with Ukraine’s shipping and negatively impacted the economy. It is with this latest aggression in mind that the task force is recommending an increased round of sanctions specifically targeting Russian shipping and banking interests.  On the energy front, while gas prices have been moved toward market prices there is still a long way to go, particularly as regards attracting foreign investment and developing domestic sources.

The task force is making a number of specific recommendations to move Ukraine forward on these fronts. The humanitarian issue, caused by Russian aggression, is particularly troubling. The international community has fallen short in providing the wide range of support Ukraine needs. Currently, about 3.4 million Ukrainians need some form of humanitarian assistance and of these about 1.5 million are internally displaced persons who need particular attention. We are recommending increased funding for all areas of humanitarian assistance and particular assistance in dealing with the dangers of landmines. Ukraine is considered one of the most heavily landmine-contaminated countries in the world. The defense sector needs greater transparency and a better procurement process as well as an in-depth analysis to determine the actual needs of Ukraine’s front-line forces. Our recommendations are aimed at creating a more efficient defense structure that will be able to meet the military’s battlefield requirements and help develop the private defense sector.

Economic Sanctions

  • Support the EU’s efforts to regulate the Nord Stream II
  • Prepare sanctions options, accompanied by implementation if Russia does not restore the status quo in the Sea of Azov. If Russia does not take action, impose sanctions that could include the following:
  • Blocking sanctions on one or more Russian state financial institutions, preferably, Vnesheconombank (VEB), Promsvyazbank, and the Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF);
  • Prohibit US persons from participating in the issue of new Russian sovereign debt.
  • Sanctions on Russian shipping, including:
  • Ban Russian ships from US and EU ports
  • New sanctions should remain in place until the Minsk agreement is fulfilled


  • Leveraging public resources to attract private investment, particularly in promising areas such as domestic gas production and renewable energy
  • A comprehensive investment plan in combined heat and power to attract private capital
  • Engagement by U.S. financial institutions such as OPIC, EXIM, and TDA to encourage U.S. private investment in the Ukrainian energy sector
  • Public education programs on the direct benefits of energy reform in order to engage a vibrant civil society as partner, impetus and monitor of the reform process


  • Greater access to areas with greatest needs in the conflict zone
  • Increased attention and assistance to neutralize mines and other explosives in eastern Ukraine
  • More U.S. assistance, including in kind and personnel to administer to immediate needs
  • Humanitarian agencies need donors early support of essential programs
  • A UN led pledging conference to increase donor support for health, nutrition, education and shelter.

Private Sector Defense Environment and Development 

  • Private defense companies provide about 60% of Ukraine’s in country sourced military requirements
  • Private military-industrial complex of Ukraine is comprised of more than 100 companies of wide variety of specialization
  • Needs improved Western investment and partnering opportunities
  • Ukroboronprom provides the balance of in country sourced military requirements
  • Regulatory environment is complex, hide-bound, delay inducing, and export revenue focused
  • Needs better system to capture, analyze and prioritize data collected from combat and exercise operations
  • Needs improved communications between military, private industry and UOP to deliver most essential capabilities to fighting forces fastest
  • Needs to focus US assistance programs on meeting current requirements and building own capability to provide its requirements by improving Ukraine’s private defense sector


The Friends of Ukraine Network (FOUN) National Security Task Force Recommendations for Further Assistance

Military Assistance –

Guiding Principles:

  • Should be grounded in Ukrainian National Strategic Planning – Defend Forward/Fighting
  • Should enhance Ukraine’s own capability to produce the required equipment
  • Should be based on most rapid time to field – taking into account training requirements, translations of manuals, support tail required, etc.
  • Should avoid creating concentration of high-value targets – headquarters units, armor, etc.
  • Should assume enemy air superiority at all points

Priority capabilities:

  • Air defense artillery to challenge Russian air superiority
  • Coastal Defense Systems – Surveillance, Detection, artillery anti-ship missile systems
  • Territorial Sea Protection – small, high speed, well-armed craft, low cost

Specific options:

  • The US should provide at leas 6, and as many as 12, Mark V PT boats, which arry torpedoes ans well as the capacity to be equipped with at least 50, and as many as 100, Hellfire missiles
  • The US should provide gratis the 1970s Harpoon anti-ship missiles currently sitting in storage
  • The US should provide the radar and intelligence systems necessary to track the Russian Navy in the Sea of Azov
  • Identify funding mechanisms

NATO and USG Foreign Policy –

  • Issue statements from the US, NATO, and other Western allies strongly condemning Russian actions. Specifically,
  • Describe the actions as an escalation of violence, creeping aggression, an effort to destabilizes Ukraine, and a challenge to broader European security, thus to NATO
  • Note violations to relevant international conventions as well as the 2003 bilateral agreement on the Sea of Azov and Kerch Strait
  • State that Russia should publicly acknowledge responsibility, make restitutions, immediately release the Ukrainian sailors now being held, and permit Ukrainian shipping free access to the Sea of Azov. Failure to do so by a date certain should be met with sanctions banning access to US/European ports by Russian ships from Black Sea, Sea of Azov and Don River ports
  • Send a NATO/EU fact-finding mission to the Sea of Azov and bolster the OSCE Special Monitoring Mission along the Sea of Azov coast
  • Convene the UN General Assembly along with the UN National Security Council

The FOUN National Security Task Force is chaired by Ambassador John Herbst (Atlantic Council) and includes Stephen Blank (American Foreign Policy Council), Ian Brzezinski (Atlantic Council), Michael Carpenter (Penn Biden Center), Glen Howard (Jamestown Foundation) and Robert A. McConnell (McConnell and Associates).


The Friends of Ukraine Network (FOUN) Democracy and Civil Society Task Force Recommendations for Further U.S. Assistance to Ukraine (with Recommendations for Ukraine)

  • A democratic, secure and prosperous Ukraine continues to be in the national security interest of the United States and transatlantic community. Ukraine and the Ukrainian people continue to receive strong bipartisan support in Washington and by the Transatlantic community.
  • Thanks to the dynamic role of civil society since the Maidan, and the dedication of Ukrainian reformers, Ukraine has made significant progress in the last five years to stabilize its economy, carry out democratic reforms and counter Russia’s war of aggression. However, recent anti-corruption backsliding, as pointed out by Ukraine’s partners, is deeply disconcerting and raises serious questions about Ukraine’s commitment to democratic reforms.
  • Given these serious challenges work needs to be done to fully implement reforms, reinvigorate efforts to combat corruption, strengthen and protect civil society and fulfill Ukraine’s EuroAtlantic aspirations. It is also essential that Ukraine conduct free, fair, open and transparent presidential and parliamentary elections in 2019 to further ensure the integrity of its democracy.
  • Corruption remains a vexing issue for Ukraine in 2019 holding back political, economic and EuroAtlantic progress. We applaud that Ukraine has done more on reform in many sectors over the last five years than in the previous two decades. That said, Ukrainian officials in 2019 and beyond must commit to greater effort to combat the pervasive, long-standing corruption that still exists in public and private life.
  • As Russia continues to wage a war of aggression it is increasingly important in 2019 that the United States, European Union and other partners of Ukraine step up efforts to strengthen Ukrainian democratic and economic resilience. This includes reinforcing Ukrainian civil society’s fight again corruption and building a robust democracy with strong institutions, political parties, independent media — all necessary in a healthy and vibrant democracy. Continuing on the reform path, especially in the area of rule of law, will benefit Ukraine’s democracy, economy, security and independence. Failure to do so only benefits Moscow.

For the United States:

  • Increase U.S. political and diplomatic engagement with the Ukrainian government and civil society and international partners to support implementation of stalled reforms in Ukraine.
  • Make clear prior to and after Ukraine’s 2019 elections that there is growing expectation about the need to implement and carry out critical anti-corruption and democratic reforms.
  • Deepen political, development and economic cooperation among the U.S., European Union and other international partners of Ukraine to strengthen Ukraine’s democracy, resiliency, fight against corruption and Russian aggression.
  • Urge the U.S. Congress to hold hearings on Ukraine’s democratic reform efforts and play a role in determining conditionality on U.S. assistance and support for Ukraine.
  • Provide robust U.S. government support for Ukraine’s democratic development, including an independent judiciary, strengthened rule of law, human rights and law enforcement.
  • Encourage U.S. active support for free, fair, open and transparent 2019 presidential and parliamentary elections in Ukraine that meet international democratic standards.
  • Intensify diplomatic and political support for Ukraine’s civil society to strengthen their efforts to combat corruption, monitor government and hold it accountable, eliminate any attempts to curtail activists’ lawful activities and reduce attacks and pressure on them.
  • Maintain, and increase, where appropriate, current levels of U.S. government funding and technical assistance to further develop and strengthen civil society organizations.
  • Maintain, and increase, where appropriate, support for reform-oriented national political parties.
  • Where appropriate, the United States should apply targeted conditionality to both development and new macroeconomic assistance support focused on the passage and implementation of key democratic and rule of law reforms, including independent and impartial courts, as well as comprehensive reform of the Security Service of Ukraine (SBU).
  • Increase or maintain current levels of U.S. government funding for academic, professional, and people-to-people exchanges through existing exchange programs with Ukraine.
  • Increase or maintain current levels of U.S. government funding for media development in Ukraine, especially independent and investigative media.
  • Continue to fund the Ukrainian Services of the Voice of America and Radio Liberty at levels that enable them to vigorously respond to Russian disinformation as well as the informational shortcomings and biases of oligarch-controlled media in Ukraine.
  • Continue U.S. assistance in support of decentralization in Ukraine, empowering local governments and communities as purveyors and implementers of reforms and more responsive governance.
  • Maintain, and, as necessary, increase, U.S. government funding to strengthen Ukraine’s election processes to ensure that elections meet international democratic standards and are free, fair, open and transparent.
  • Consider providing additional funding, if necessary, to help Ukraine defend its election infrastructure against cyberattacks from Russia and other malign actors
  • Target assistance for programs to improve trust and confidence and reconciliation between citizens and government in areas in eastern Ukraine.

For Ukraine:

  • Hold free, fair, and open presidential and parliamentary elections in 2019 that meet international democratic standards. Address areas where improvements need to be made, including electoral framework and administration, campaign, campaign financing, the information environment, and participation (notably IDP voting). A transparent, credible election process would reinforce Ukraine’s democracy.
  • Undertake efforts to reduce electoral injustice, including by strengthening accountability for election violations.
  • Implement to the extent possible elections-related recommendations of the OSCE and other international organizations such as the National Democratic Institute (NDI) and the International Republican Institute (IRI), as well as the roadmap for progress outlined by the International Foundation for Electoral Systems (IFES) and Ukrainian civil society organizations OPORA and Reanimation Package of Reforms (RPR).
  • Continue to make concrete progress implementing reforms and in strengthening the rule of law, promoting further reform of the judicial system and of law enforcement structures, and more resolutely combat corruption.
  • Strengthen the rule of law by improving judicial independence, integrity, professionalism and accountability.
  • Continue to encourage a fair, transparent, competitive and honest candidate selection process for the anti-corruption court so as to ensure the highest integrity of judges; ensure a transparent and competitive selection process for the court apparatus.
  • Support efforts to launch the High Anti-Corruption Court, and help ensure anti-corruption institutions work together in fostering rule of law, and transparent and accountable government.
  • Encourage Ukraine’s pro-reform forces and judiciary system before and after elections in 2019 to undertake and implement reforms that would better hold corrupt officials to account.
  • Encourage systemic reforms that would reduce opportunities for government officials to engage in corrupt activities.
  • We join theG7 and World Bank urging the Ukrainian government to “immediately step up efforts to safeguard the effectiveness of anti-corruption legal tools and institutions, including by reinstating criminal liability for illicit enrichment in line with UN, OECD and ECHR principles and finding a way to continue the dozens of investigations and prosecutions threatened by the court’s recent ruling.”
  • Cease governmental attempts to control and punish anti-corruption activists, including abolishing mandatory declarations for organizations engaged in anti-corruption activities;
  • Remove or amend legislation that unduly and unfairly hampers the work of civil society.
  • Thoroughly and impartially investigate and punish all instances of attacks, including killings, of civil society activists, journalists, and members of minority groups, including Roma.
  • Support and not undermine the work of the National Anti-Corruption Bureau (NABU), equip it with the necessary tools for its effective activity, safeguard existing anticorruption legislation from being watered down.
  • Ensure the transparency, effectiveness and political independence of the Specialized Anti-Corruption Prosecutor’s Office (SAPO)
  • Urge the Ukrainian government to ensure that the Specialized Anti-corruption Prosecutor’s Office is led by a Ukrainian official committed to addressing corruption.
  • Reform the National Agency on Corruption Prevention to ensure impartiality and objectiveness and the fulfillment of the institution’s functions, including full and effective control in reviewing and verifying the assets of Ukrainian officials provided by the electronic asset declaration system
  • Provide the anti-corruption institutions, including the recently-created State Bureau of Investigations, with the authorities, resources and genuine independence to carry out their missions;
  • Engage in comprehensive reform and restructuring of the Security Service of Ukraine (SBU), removing its power to fight economic crimes and thereby reducing corruption;
  • Eliminate interference in the work of anti-corruption institutions and encourage cooperation among them so as to more effectively combat corruption.
  • Remove or curtail parliamentary immunity in ways that would allow legitimate criminal prosecutions, particularly in cases of corruption, to proceed.
  • Provide adequate funding for sustainable public TV and radio broadcasting and adopt legislation and regulations that foster the strengthening of newsroom independence and a diversification of media ownership in order to limit the impact of biased news reporting of oligarch-owned media.

The Members of the FOUN Democracy and Civil Society Task Force are:

Jonathan Katz, Co-Chair (German Marshall Fund)

Orest Deychakiwsky, Co-Chair (Former Senior Policy Advisor, US Helsinki Commission)

Adrian Karmazyn, Vice Chair (Former Voice of America Ukrainian Service Chief)

Tania Chomiak-Salvi (Former Deputy Coordinator, International Information Programs, US Department of State)

Jaroslav Dutkewych (Former Peace Corps Ukraine Director)

David J. Kramer (Former Assistant Secretary of State for Democracy, Human Rights and Labor)

Stephen Nix (International Republican Institute)

Joanna Rohozinska (National Endowment for Democracy)

Ambassador William B. Taylor (US Institute of Peace) 

These recommendations do not necessarily reflect the views of all organizations represented herein or other members of the Friends of Ukraine Network.


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