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U.S. lobbyists connect Ukraine officials with powerful allies to help in war against Russia


Firefighters put out the fire in an apartment that was damaged during a Russian attack on Kyiv (Ukraine), March 15, 2022.

Emin Sansar | Anadolu Agency | Getty Images

Lobbyists have been trying to get Ukrainian officials connected to U.S. powerful allies. This includes mayors and governors of the U.S. as well as representatives of at most one firearm dealer.

One U.S. company and one separate lawyer both recently told the Department of Justice’s FARA unit they have been doing pro-bono work with Ukrainian government officials ever since Russia invaded. This is a move by these advisors to assist Ukrainian leaders as a result of Western sanctions that have seen lobbyists distance themselves from Russian-backed entities. Sidley Austin, a powerful lobbying company droppedVTB Bank became a client of the Biden administration after it sanctioned this financial institution.

Your Global Strategy is a lobbying firm and communications company that was co-founded in 2012 by Michael Steiner and Shai Franklin. They are trying to link local Ukrainian officials with American governors. Franklin spoke on Tuesday to CNBC. Later, he said that Your Global Strategy is his only lobbyist working on the effort.

Steiner previously worked closely with Russia as the Moscow-Russia CEO for the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee, winning a special citation from the Russian Federation for “contributions to the development of nationalities,” according to his bio.

Lukas Jan Kaczmarek (a Maryland lawyer) stated that he wants to assist the Ministry of Defense of Ukraine with weapons and other material through diplomatic channels. He has not returned messages seeking to comment.

Your Global claims they helped to set up informal video calls between Kharkiv Mayor Ihor Tscherhov and U.S. presidents. This includes Eric Adams from New York City as well as Michelle Wu, the Mayor of Boston. According to Franklin, reports and media accounts, Terekhov has spoken to Chicago’s mayor Lori Lightfoot.

Franklin claimed that he was working closely with Volodymyr Zilenskyy the Ukrainian president, to facilitate the virtual meetings. Odessa’s and Kyiv’s mayors are due to talk with U.S. Mayors. Calls are expected between U.S. governors, local Ukrainian leaders and Franklin would not say what state or local officials will be speaking with Ukrainian leaders.

According to Terekhov Boston HeraldWu was asked by Terekhov to lobby members of Congress for tighter sanctions against Russia. Wu was told by Terekhov that Adams had asked him the same question during their conversation. The newspaper did not report this. They have placed severe sanctions against Russia and its allies, which include targeting their central bank.

Adams spokesperson didn’t respond to our request for comment.

Franklin, who is leading the new Ukrainian effort for the firm, and Steiner, promote on their website that the two met in Crimea almost 15 years ago for “where they co-produced a community-building conference that drew leaders and managers from across the former Soviet Union.” Russia invaded Crimea and annexed it in 2014.

Kaczmarek explains in his filing that he is trying to assist Ukraine’s defense officials with weapons acquisition. Part of this focus was on engaging with representatives from American gun manufacturer Kel-Tec CNC Industries, Cocoa Fla.

Kaczmarek writes that he was approached by one the volunteers to see if he could assist Adrian Kellgren Director of Industrial Production, Kel-Tech CNC Industries with an expedited export licence for a group of small arms which could not be delivered in time to Odessa. As of March 8th 2022, I was able to solve the issue regarding Mr. Kellgren’s export license. I offered my assistance to Mr. Muzylov verbally on March 9th 2022 with the acquisition and sourcing of materials for the Ministry of Defense of Ukraine. He verbally agreed.”

Kel-Tec representatives could not reach us.