A team of 10 Ukrainian cyclists, including several war veterans, will arrive in Washington on August 29, ending a three-month tour across the United States and Canada to raise awareness of Russian-led military attacks on civilians in eastern Ukraine.
“Through cycling we share our story and unite people in the name of peace,” said team leader and eastern Ukraine war veteran Kostiantyn Samchuk. The team began their trek in Los Angeles in May, headed north to weave across the U.S.-Canadian border, then rode south again for the final stretch of their 10,000-kilometer odyssey.
Calling their ride the “Chumak Way,” a provincial term that recalls the old trade routes of Ukrainian merchants and the stories they told along the way, the cyclists, too, share their experiences about the conflict in Ukraine’s eastern region of Donbas as they pass through hundreds of towns and cities on their journey. Russian aggression in eastern Ukraine has led to the deaths of more than 10,300 people and the destruction of thousands of homes, schools and hospitals since the conflict began in 2014.
“After having cycled almost 10,000 km we are impressed by the strong support of local people and government officials Chumak Way activity gets along the way. We bike for peace and remind everyone that military aggression towards Ukraine must be stopped,” Samchuk said.
“Ukraine needs the help of countries like the United States of America in its efforts to protect peace on its territory,” said Samchuk. “Americans support our goals; many of them biked with us for peace,” he said.
Ukraine celebrated its independence from the former Soviet Union in 1991 on August 24. In honor of that occasion, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo congratulated all Ukrainians.
“The United States steadfastly supports Ukraine in the face of Russian aggression. We pay tribute to those who have fought and sacrificed for freedom in Ukraine, and we stand behind Ukraine as it adopts transformational reforms to increase prosperity, security, and rule of law,” he said.
.@OSCE_SMM conflict monitors spotted four new Russian electronic warfare systems in eastern #Ukraine — more evidence Russia’s military is orchestrating the conflict in the Donbas. #Russia must fully implement the Minsk agreements and pull its forces out of Ukraine.
— Heather Nauert (@statedeptspox) August 15, 2018