Governor Kathy Hochul announces a relief effort of Medical supplies, donated through AFYA Foundation and Greater New York Hospitals Association will be shipped to Ukraine (Darren McGee- Office of Governor Kathy Hochul)

Announcement Builds on Governor’s Ongoing Efforts to Support Ukraine

Governor Hochul: “We’re going to be announcing an executive order that we’re going to be strengthening in our sanctions against Russia as well and we’re going to have additional blockchain analytics technology to make sure that we’re being very vigilant about what they do. We’re now going to prohibit any state agencies and authorities from contracting with any entities that are still doing business in Russia.”

Earlier today, Governor Kathy Hochul announced a new Executive Order to prohibit state agencies and authorities from contracting with entities that continue to do business in Russia.

The announcement builds on Governor Hochul’s ongoing efforts to support Ukraine. In February, Governor Hochul ordered all state agencies and authorities to divest public funds from Russia and stop doing business with Russian companies. In early March, Governor Hochul announced actions to strengthen the Department of Financial Services’ (DFS) enforcement of sanctions against Russia, including the expedited procurement of additional blockchain analytics technology.     

A rush transcript of the Governor’s remarks is available below:  

Happy St. Patrick’s Day. My maiden name is Kathleen Mary Courtney from County Kerry, so this is a very special day for me, but it’s even more special for the purpose that we’re here that I’ll talk about in a couple of minutes. I’ll be acknowledging our speakers in a moment, but I do want to acknowledge the elected officials who’ve shown up here today and to support show their support for the country of Ukraine and how New Yorkers collectively are standing together to call out the unlawful invasion by Putin and Russia against the independent sovereign nation of Ukraine. During that time we’ve seen the spectacle, the horror of what has transpired. I want to thank New Yorkers, particularly, for standing up and being so generous.

I want to thank our elected officials who are here. We are joined by our Majority Leader, Andrea Stewart-Cousins. This is home turf for her, and she’s been very involved with this organization for a long time. I want to thank her for all the things she does, not just for our state, for this particular community as well.

Also, Senator Shelley Mayer, a longtime friend as well. We’ve worked in food pantries and we’ve made sandwiches for people that needed help in some of the food banks. I know this is something deeply personal to you as well.

Assemblymember Nader Sayegh. I want to thank him for being here and the great support that he gives his community as well.

And our great County Executive George Latimer. When you need a military-style deployment of resources, whether it’s in a pandemic or it’s to help another country, this is the man you go to. George, you’ve been a strong ally of ours through the pandemic and even before, and certainly beyond.

Of course, our mayor here, Mayor Mike Spano, who’s, again, boots on the ground, making things happen for this community all the time. So we’re joined by my favorite elected officials, glad to see them here today.

Before I get started on what we’re doing here today, I want to acknowledge also that we’re still giving reports on our pandemic numbers, the COVID-19 numbers. I just want to acknowledge that we’ve come down a lot and this is the trend we’re continuing to watch. We are down to 2,323 positive cases, down from, I need to repeat this, down from 90,000 just a couple of months ago in January, so that is extraordinary. And our single day, positivity is 1.7 percent. Hospitalizations continue to decline, but there’s still about a thousand people in hospitals and we did lose 13 New Yorkers just yesterday.

But what I want to focus on is the fact that we are also watching what’s happening across the world. I told everyone as we are coming through this and scaling back on our requirements, that we’re going to keep an eye on global trends. So I want everyone to know that here in the State of New York, we’re watching and staying alert about what’s happening in the United Kingdom. We’re seeing an 82 percent increase in cases over there over the last few weeks, we tend to be a few weeks behind those trends, but we do have surveillance techniques, which we’re using expansively across the state. And we’re able to monitor 70 percent of our state population, literally through wastewater surveillance.

So, using technology we’ll have an early on to any problems that may spike even before someone would have any symptoms. We’re not seeing that. I want to be clear. We’re not seeing that right now, but in our efforts to continue being vigilant, we want to make sure that we’re going to continue to get our test kits out.

Fewer people are coming to our test sites. That’s understandable, but we want to make sure that of the 92 million testing kits that we amassed here in the state, that we’re now going to be deploying another 20 million out to schools, to nursing homes, to NYCHA residents, food banks, and to elected officials for them to distribute as well. So, let’s get those in people’s hands. If there’s any warning signs, anyone’s concerned that they can get that test immediately. That tests lets them know if they’re positive and if they’re positive, we want them to isolate. That’s how we’ve learned from the past on how to stop the spread.

We’re also going to be stockpiling 20 million test kits so we have them available as we enter next year’s school year to make sure that we have enough for students to keep monitoring. We’re going to continue keeping New Yorkers safe. This is something you can count on this administration to continue to be very vigilant on as well.

But speaking of what we’re watching around the world, as I mentioned, the specter of the fighting going on in Ukraine, the painful images of seeing innocent civilians, losing their lives, attacks on schools and hospitals, and it’s continuing to decline. I saw President Biden yesterday announced another $800 million of support for security, which is important. He’s doing what he can on that front, but also it’s incumbent upon all of us as New Yorkers to say, how can we help our brothers and sisters who are hurting? And knowing New Yorkers as well as I do, I’m never disappointed in how they respond to crises when there is a call for help.

I’ve been to many Ukrainian communities, we are the largest Ukrainian population in the nation, the majority in New York City, but we have populations in Rochester and Buffalo and Syracuse. I’ve gone to visit them over the last couple of weeks. I’ve worshiped in their churches, I’ve shown our support. But I also want to say we can do more as a state. And I did announce an executive order saying that the state would not be doing business with any Russian entities, but I want to take that a step further here today.

We’re going to be announcing an executive order that we’re going to be strengthening in our sanctions against Russia as well and we’re going to have additional blockchain analytics technology to make sure that we’re being very vigilant about what they do. We’re now going to prohibit any state agencies and authorities from contracting with any entities that are still doing business in Russia. So this is not just directly with Russian companies, it is with American companies, can companies that are continuing to do business in Russia in light of what’s happening. So that is the message that we’re delivering to our state agencies and authorities today to cease business, to not have no more future contracts with those entities.

We’re continuing to put the pressure on and I saw this as a young college student when we were trying to stop apartheid in South Africa. And it was when people started divesting holdings in companies that were doing business in South Africa, we finally created the economic pressure that resulted in change, and we got our university and other universities across the nation to divest their holdings. So, I know the impact of what even a college can do, but I certainly know the power of New York State and the ability that we have to have influence in our own way as well.

I also want to talk about an organization here, Afya, which means simply “health” in Swahili. And what is going on in this room is a dedicated group of individuals who have decided they will not sit on the sidelines. These volunteers right here, young people who’ve come together to help gather tens of thousands of pounds of critical medical humanitarian supplies – surgical pack, wound care kits, stretchers, emergency hospital beds, first aid supplies – and they’re all putting them together to be able to send where they’re needed the most. I want to thank this organization. I also want to thank Ken Raske. They did this. They brought together all these medical supplies together here today so they could be sent. Ken is the President and CEO of Greater New York Hospital Association. So even still dealing with what they went through during the pandemic and all the stress on the system and the scramble for protective equipment and masks and gowns, they, at a time of crisis for another country, still show the heart of New Yorkers and our healthcare industry to help people. We may never see their faces, but we know here today, standing in this warehouse in Yonkers that we’re about to ship out, literally 200 pallets of supplies desperately needed, over 100,000 pounds. And we’re going to continue doing this and we’re continuing ramping up our efforts to do what we can to support these individuals, not just with our prayers, not just with our thoughts, but real supplies that we hope will save lives.

And with that, I do want to introduce Ken Raske and thank him for his great support and explain a little more about what we’re doing here today, but thank you everyone.