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Ambassador Markell: The U.S. and OECD stand united with Ukraine
March 7, 2022

Ambassador Jack Markell
Statement on Russia’s Aggression Against Ukraine
March 7, 2022

Today, Ukraine’s Deputy Minister for Economic Development, Trade and Agriculture and Trade Representative of Ukraine, Mr. Taras Kachka, joined the OECD Council.  Along with my fellow Permanent Representatives of the OECD’s 38 Member countries, I expressed solidarity with the people of Ukraine as they defend against Russia’s brutal assault and premeditated war of choice.

During 30 years of independence, the Ukrainian people have repeatedly shown a deep commitment to a free and more democratic future.  Their bravery in the face of this attack has inspired – and united – the world.

President Biden, in his State of the Union address last week, said, “in the battle between democracy and autocracy, democracies are rising to the moment, and the world is clearly choosing the side of peace and security.”

The United States has joined with our Allies and partners to impose maximum costs on President Putin and his regime through a massive and coordinated response.  His attempt to divide us has failed.

The 38 Member nations of the OECD – like-minded, democratic, open-market economies – have joined together to condemn Russia’s large scale aggression against Ukraine, and to review and suspend OECD cooperation with Russia.  The OECD has formally terminated Russia’s OECD accession process, closed its Moscow office, and stopped any new agreements with Russia.

We continue to reassess the economic and social repercussions of Russia’s actions, and are committed to additional actions that the OECD can take to further diminish President Putin’s ability to pursue his path of war, and to undermine the democratic principles of the OECD.

The OECD’s roots go back 60 years as the organization emerged to lead the effort to rebuild Europe after the devastation of World War II.  We are again confronting a moment in history where autocracies are threatening global stability.

Beyond working with our fellow Members here at the OECD, the United States is urging all governments and their leaders to speak out clearly against President Putin’s flagrant aggression.  In addition to taking action against Russia, we are mobilizing resources to support the Ukrainian people, including provisions for security, economic, and humanitarian assistance.  We are coordinating with oil-producing and -consuming nations to ensure global energy security.  My European colleagues are mounting a remarkable response by welcoming hundreds of thousands of Ukrainian refugees fleeing violence.

Last week, the United Nations General Assembly voted overwhelmingly to condemn Russia’s further invasion of Ukraine.  However, the UN vote also made clear that there are still countries around the world that do not share our values, that do not stand up for the basic principles of freedom, self-determination, and sovereignty.  Make no mistake – in the contest between democracy and autocracy, between sovereignty and subjugation, freedom will prevail.  Liberty, democracy, and human dignity are forces far more powerful than fear and oppression.

Not far from the White House, in my nation’s capital, there is a memorial to Ukrainian poet Taras Shevchenko.  Inscribed on it is a verse he composed over a century ago: “Our soul shall never perish.  Freedom knows no dying.”

The United States stands united with Ukraine, and with the Ukrainian people, so that freedom will never die.