Ukraine, one of the largest countries in Europe with a population of approximately 43.9 million, is a republic with a semi-presidential political system. Since its independence from the Soviet Union in 1991, it has moved towards greater democracy and respect for human rights, although the process has not always been steady. Since the Euromaidan, which culminated in February 2014, Ukraine has had nominally reformist, pro-Western governments, although much work remains in strengthening the rule of law and combatting corruption. Russia has been Ukraine’s greatest external threat, especially following the March 2014 illegal attempted annexation of Crimea and aggression in the Donbas region of eastern Ukraine. Human rights violations are rife in Crimea and the occupied territories. The Commission has vociferously condemned Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, which flagrantly violates all core OSCE principles enshrined in the Helsinki Final Act.
The Commission has a long history of supporting the aspirations of the Ukrainian people for human rights and democracy. Over the decades, the Commission has held numerous hearings, public briefings, and meetings on Ukraine. The Commission has initiated or been involved in the passage of legislation pertaining to Ukraine, issued numerous statements, reports and media interviews, spoken out about Ukraine at various meetings of the OSCE, and led Congressional delegations to Ukraine. The Commission has observed virtually every national election in Ukraine since 1990.
Staff Contact: Rachel Bauman, policy advisor