Acting DCM Joseph Pennington’s Remarks at a Veteran Reintegration Program Event

February 5, 2020

Доброго дня.  Now I will switch to English.  Good afternoon, thank you very much to all of you for joining us today. Very pleased to have you here to launch the second phase of our U.S.-funded Veteran Reintegration Program.

Thank you, Mehri, for the kind introduction, and thank you also to my colleagues for being here, particularly IREX, I want to highlight, the Kyiv International Institute of Sociology, Veteran Hub, the State Department Bureau of Conflict and Stabilization Operations.  They’re integral parts of this program.

The U.S. Embassy in Kyiv is pleased and proud to partner with all of you – and with other members of the diplomatic corps, civil society leaders, researchers and implementers – to help Ukraine’s brave veterans reintegrate into society.

These veterans – who, many of whom rushed to the Donbas to defend against Russia’s aggression – deserve our full support in reintegrating into civilian life.

As our colleagues will highlight today, many of these veterans face difficulties in that reintegration process.  This is a common challenge not only in Ukraine, but in the United States, and in many of our other partner countries, as well.

The ongoing Veterans Reintegration Program will use data-driven insights to provide Ukraine with tools that enable Ukraine to better provide services to care for these Donbas veterans.

We’re going to hear, as Mehri mentioned, from a panel of those involved in this project, to reflect a bit on the first phase, which is a research phase, to reflect on what they have learned, some impressions that they have gathered, and how that knowledge and how those impressions will inform the program as it moves to a second phase, which is implementation of a way forward.

Along with the combined efforts of the Ukrainian government and civil society, which is a very, very important element, we stand ready to continue to advise, train, and strengthen Ukraine’s veteran benefit and service structures as this program continues.

I would like to thank our partners at the Ministry — I regret the Minister could not be here today — those at the Ministry who are our partners in supporting our Veterans Reintegration Program, we look forward to working with many of you in this room and also our friends at the Ministry in the days and months ahead.

Дуже дякую, слава Українi.