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USAID Administrator describes urgent need to pressure Russia

March 3, 2022

In a teleconference hosted by the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) and the German Marshall Fund of the United States today, former UN Ambassador and current USAID Administrator Samantha Power said there has been a "sea change" in condemnation, referring to a United Nations General Assembly motion on Wednesday in which 141 of the 193 member states voted to condemn the Russian Federation's invasion of Ukraine. Ambassador Power also said Cuba's decision to abstain from the vote was a notable sign of shifting allegiances. But Ambassador Power also described "burning humanitarian needs" inside Ukraine, and an urgent need for "humanitarian pauses" in the fighting. "The big issue of modern conflict... is access," said Ambassador Power, describing the obstacles to assistance for civilians still in Ukraine. She said some access is gained by tactical negotiations with local authorities on the ground, but that international pressure on the Russian Federation for pauses in hostilities is necessary in order to avert an imminent worsening of the crisis. "China could have a critical role to play in pressing on the humanitarian front, but so could many of the African countries," Ambassador Power said. "We need the entire world to stand for access." Joining the conference call was former member of the Ukrainian Parliament Hanna Hopko, who has fled to Poland. She said "Victory of Ukraine will protect Western Civilization," and "If Putin will see that the West is not supporting us, then China will behave like Putin." USAID Director in Ukraine Jim Hope, who has also fled to Poland, also joined the conference call and said there has been a "massive amount of Russian disinformation and false flag narratives." In closing remarks, Ambassador Power said, "We need the people around Putin to see the consequences for the Russian people... and do what is required to end this war."

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