Who is Advocating for Ukraine’s Interests in the USA


Europe is providing strong support to Ukraine, but the country is facing challenges in navigating the political situation in the United States. This has created uncertainty about whether Ukraine will continue to receive consistent and dependable aid. The key concern is who will be responsible for safeguarding Ukraine’s interests in the midst of the pre-election landscape in the US.

It is a widespread practice for nations to participate in lobbying efforts to advance their interests and strengthen diplomatic relationships in the intricate field of global politics. The US and Europe are the main allies in terms of providing aid to Ukraine; therefore, the latter has developed a solid diplomatic and lobbying presence. For reference, since the outbreak of hostilities, the EU and Member Statesprovided over $101 billion in financial, military, humanitarian, and refugee assistance, and the US has given a total of $44.9 billion since the start of the Biden administration.

Despite the Congress being wrapped up in continued turmoil regarding the allocation of additional support to Ukraine, with House Speaker Mike Johnson encountering stern opposition from far-right Republicans, the US government revealed on March 12, 2024, that a $300 million exceptional military aid package had been authorized.

As the upcoming US elections may impact American backing, this article delves deep into top lobbyists advocating Ukraine, highlighting the importance of continued lobbying efforts to ensure sustained US government support.

Ukrainian oligarchs have played a prominent role in the country’s politics since its independence from the Soviet Union in 1991. These businessmen, who amassed enormous wealth and power during the chaotic privatization of state assets in the 1990s, have used their financial resources to shape policy and influence political decisions.

However, in recent years, there has been growing pressure from civil society and anti-corruption activists to reduce the power of oligarchs and increase transparency in government decision-making. As a result, some reforms have been implemented, such as the creation of a public register of lobbyists and the introduction of limits on political donations. Despite this, the influence of oligarchs in Ukraine remains a significant challenge to democracy and the rule of law.

However, with the outbreak of war new players have appeared on the lobbying field – non-governmental and non-profit organizations. Supported by people, soldiers and veterans, NGOs have undeniable sympathy from key international actors and prospect of truly making a change.

Another prominent figure involved in lobbying efforts to advance Ukrainian interests is Vitaliy Hersak, a serviceman of the Armed Forces of Ukraine and head of the NGO “Free and Faithful,” which advocates for veterans and service people. Vitaliy Hersak is widely respected for his dedication to promoting the interests of Ukrainian veterans and service people. He has been instrumental in raising awareness about the challenges faced by these groups and advocating for their rights and benefits. Hersak’s leadership skills and commitment to his cause have earned him a great deal of admiration and respect from his colleagues and supporters. His tireless efforts have made a positive impact on the lives of countless individuals and helped to strengthen the Ukrainian armed forces.Realizing the significance of international collaboration, Vitaly established a platform for sharing experience and expertise between The US and Ukraine. In February, the inaugural conference, “Effective Veteran Policy for Ukraine: International Experience and Action Plan,” took place in Kyiv, and a diverse group of experts, public officials, and other stakeholders from Ukraine, Europe, and the US attended. An international expert working group was established alongside launching analytical research on veterans’ rehabilitation and adaptation. On April 11th, a conference was held in Washington at the National Press Club, where many distinguished guests were present, namely: Oleksiy Illiahenko, retired colonel of police, veteran of Kosovo peacekeeping operation (2005), veteran of russian-Ukrainian war (2022) and deputy Minister of veterans affairs of Ukraine (2019-2022); Phyllis Wilson, a president at Military Women’s Memorial Foundation; Christie Arnell, a founder and president of the NGO “Ukraine Unlimited,” ; James Hutton, Donald J. Trump’ appointee to be the Assistant Secretary of Public and Intergovernmental affairs at the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA); Wilbert Williams, enterprise account executive in the U.S. Defense & Intelligence Community 4th Estate Agencies and the Bronze Star Combat veteran; and others. During the conference, an announced strategy was presented that is expected to significantly improve bilateral relations by adapting US practices in veteran policy to suit Ukrainian circumstances.Emphasizing the importance of collaboration is crucial, especially given the uncertain perspective on Ukrainian aid due to the current political climate in the US.

Vitaliy Hersak

But lobbying was never left to oligarchs or NGOs alone. The Ukrainian government is highly aware of the importance of organized lobbying and advocacy, extending beyond the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Interestingly, this awareness has come a long time before the adoption of lobbying law just a few months ago. Starting in 2019, Andrew Mac has been promoting the interests of the Ukrainian government, with the President himself listed as a Foreign Principal. Andrew specializes in cross-border transactions involving the US, Ukraine, and CIS entities. He is an expert in M&A, corporate and competition law, corporate compliance, FCPA/Bribery Act, capital markets, and state regulations. Andrew advises the President on relations with the Ukrainian diaspora community in the United States and worldwide. His role likely involves speaking occasionally with Ukrainian-American media or media outlets read by the Ukrainian-American community.

Lobbying activities are essential in advocating for Ukraine’s defense of freedom and democracy. These activities also include promoting transparency and democratic principles through legislative initiatives and international cooperation. The ongoing efforts of individuals and organizations to engage with government officials, policymakers, and the media both in the United States and internationally demonstrate a commitment to fostering diplomatic ties and advancing Ukraine’s priorities on the global agenda.

Lobbyists seek accountability for damages caused by military operations and work to ensure that Ukraine’s voice is heard on the world stage. They achieve this by utilizing their networks and expertise to shape political discourse and influence policy decisions that support Ukraine’s aspirations and strategic objectives.

The collaborative and proactive approach that these individuals and organizations take is significant in highlighting the importance of lobbying. Their efforts play a crucial role in shaping political discourse and influencing policy decisions, which ultimately support Ukraine’s progress towards a democratic and transparent society.</