This attack was not motivated by any legitimate security concerns on the part of Moscow. Rather, it was designed to undermine the current democratically-elected government in Ukraine, and demonstrate the impossibility of democracy anywhere in Russia’s neighborhood. President Putin has stated clearly that he does not believe in Ukraine’s right to exist as an independent, sovereign nation; rather, he believes it is part of a greater Russia. For all the flaws in Ukrainian democracy, the vast majority of Ukrainians cherish their independence and do not want to be absorbed into a kleptocratic dictatorship.
CDDRL has a special relationship with Ukraine. For more than a decade, we have hosted a series of leadership programs that included many, many Ukrainians. These programs include the Draper Hills Summer Fellows Program, the Leadership Academy for Development, and the Ukrainian Emerging Leaders Program. We made these investments in citizens of Ukraine out of a belief that Ukraine constituted the front line in a struggle over democracy globally. There are today about 150 Ukrainian graduates of our different programs, and among them, we have many close friends and colleagues who remain in their country today fighting bravely against Russia’s unprovoked aggression. All of them are in grave danger today. In the coming days and weeks, we will do whatever we can to support them, and can only wish for the best in these very dark times.
We hope that the US government, our NATO allies, and all countries and people who cherish democracy will do their utmost to push back against this Russian aggression, and help to restore an independent, democratic Ukraine.
~ The faculty and staff of CDDRL