Ukrainian President Viktor Yushchenko told Congress Wednesday that "a civil society has matured in Ukraine" and asked for economic support to spur further progress.On his visit to the United States, Mr. Yushchenko received the John F. Kennedy Profile in Courage award at the JFK Library in the New England City of Boston (Tuesday). He pledged that his country would become a leader in democracy. Zoreslav Baydyuk of VOA's Ukrainian Service produced the following report. It is narrated by Amy Katz.
Hours before Mr. Yushchenko’s arrival, local Ukrainian-Americans dressed in national costumes, waving Ukrainian flags, and wearing orange ribbons, gathered at the JFK Library in Boston.
The U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine, John Herbst, who accompanied the Ukrainian delegation, said that America is helping Ukrainians build democracy.
"We think we are helping the people of Ukraine build democracy now. We wanted to do that before. I'm not sure we were able to do that," said Ambassador Herbst.
President Yushchenko was met by U.S. Senator Ted Kennedy and his niece Caroline Kennedy Schlossberg.
During the award ceremony, Ms. Schlossberg presented Mr. Yushchenko with the John F. Kennedy Profile in Courage Award, named for the late president -- her father. She said that Yushchenko's courage was an inspiration to the entire world.
"President Kennedy believed that one man of courage makes a majority. Victor Yushchenko embodies that belief for a new generation. In the face of corruption, intimidation and life-threatening danger, he remained true to the ideals of freedom, democracy and the rule of law," says Ms. Schlossberg.
Senator Kennedy praised President Yushchenko for his courage and criticized the election process of the previous administration in Ukraine. He said that it's a rarity today to witness actions such as those of President Yushchenko, who persevered in the face of threats and poisoning.
"In his own inaugural address, my brother pledged that America would pay any price, bear any burden, meet any hardship, support any friend, oppose any foe to assure the survival and the success of liberty. President Yushchenko has shown the world that there are extraordinary leaders who feel that way today and have the courage to live by them. He deserves out nation's admiration and strong support. As do the Ukrainian people," said Senator Kennedy.
President Victor Yushchenko thanked the American people for the award and pledged that he and his government will continue to build a new Ukraine.