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2020 UAV Convention Speakers

The Ukrainian American Veterans are pleased to announce the convention speakers for the UAV 73rd annual convention to be held 6-7 November 2020.

  • Brigadier General Leonid E. Kondratiuk, Past National Commander of the Ukrainian American Veterans
  • Major General Borys Kremenetskyi, Defense Attaché, Embassy of Ukraine to the USA.
  • Keith Hancock, Senior Policy Analyst with the Veterans Benefits Administration
  • Les’ Melnyk, Chief of Public Affairs & Outreach for the National Cemetery Administration (NCA), Dept. of Veterans Affairs
  • Oksana Kolyada, Minister for Veterans Affairs, Temporarily Occupied Territories and Internally Displaced Persons of Ukraine, from August 2019 to March 2020

Leonid E. Kondratiuk

Brigadier General Leonid E. Kondratiuk is the Past National Commander of the Ukrainian American Veterans from 2008-2012.

Kondratiuk was born on 28 August 1949 to Eugene and Olga Kondratiuk in Derby, England. He and his parents immigrated to the United States in 1951 and settled in Boston.

He graduated from Boston Technical High School in 1967 where he commanded the cadet corps. He attended The Citadel in Charleston, SC and graduated with a BA in history and received a commission in the US Army. He served on active duty briefly and returned to civilian life and worked for the Mobil Oil Corporation in Connecticut and Rhode Island. He also served as an officer in the Massachusetts and Connecticut National Guard. From 1975-1980 he was a graduate student at Kansas State University where he concentrated on military history.

Kondratiuk earned an MA in 1978 and was working toward a doctorate when he reentered military service in 1980 as a captain. While on active duty he served primarily as a military historian. His assignments included serving as a historian at the US Army Center of Military History, Washington, DC and at the National Guard Bureau in the Pentagon as Chief, Historical Services for 14 years. He was assigned to the Strategic Studies Institute, US Army War College from 1989-1991 serving as a member of the faculty and later as a student graduating with a diploma in 1992. He returned to the National Guard Bureau as Chief, Historical Services and also served as a division chief in the Public Affairs Office. In 1993 he helped plan and then participated in the first US military mission to Ukraine. He was also detailed to the Department of Defense 50th Anniversary of World War II Committee where he helped formulate and execute the 50th anniversary of the war.

In 1999, Kondratiuk retired from active duty as a colonel. He moved to Belmont, MA and was employed as the Director, Historical Services, Office of the Adjutant General of Massachusetts, responsible for all historical matters and for veteran’s records and archives. He continued his military service with appointment as colonel in the state militia serving with the National Lancers.

In 2007 he was promoted to Brigadier General and was given the additional assignment of Director, Militia Affairs, responsible for the State Guard, retired officers and militia units.

He is very involved in military and veterans organizations:

  • Deputy Commander, National Lancers (with the additional duty of reenacting the ride of Paul Revere)
  • National Commander, Ukrainian American Veterans from 2008-2012
  • Director, Friends of the Massachusetts National Guard Museum
  • National Commander, Yankee Division Veterans Association
  • Regimental Historian, 10151 Field Artillery Regiment
  • Historian, Centennial Legion of Historic Military Commands
  • Museum and Library Committee
  • Ancient and Honorable Artillery Company
  • Belmont Veterans Memorial Committee

Keith Hancock, VBAVACO

Keith Hancock

Keith Hancock is a Senior Policy Analyst with the Veterans Benefits Administration, Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). He is an expert on disability claims based on exposure to environment hazards such as Agent Orange.

Over the last 25 years, he has served as a claims adjudicator and field manager and has served in various capacities within VA Headquarters.  Some of his current duties include writing congressional testimony for senior leaders and developing policies and procedures for disability claims based on exposure to environment hazards.

Hancock was born and raised in Asheboro, NC, and he served in the United States Air Force as a Pararescueman (PJ) from 1985 to 1993. He currently lives in Portland, OR, and he enjoys the outdoors, gardening, and cooking.

Les’ Melnyk

Les Melnyk

Les’ Melnyk is the Chief of Public Affairs & Outreach for the National Cemetery Administration (NCA), Department of Veterans Affairs. He supervises the public affairs staff and has overall responsibility for media relations, social media, and outreach efforts in the NCA.

Before joining NCA, Mr. Melnyk served at the Pentagon as the Director of Public Affairs for the National Guard Bureau from June 2016 thru May 2018. In that capacity, he was the senior-most public affairs officer in the National Guard, providing guidance to nearly 2,000 public affairs professionals across the nation. In addition, he served as the principal public affairs advisor to the Chief of the National Guard Bureau, a member of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

Prior to this assignment, Mr. Melnyk served in a variety of operational, history and public affairs billets in the Army National Guard over the course of a 30-year career (ten years as a traditional Guardsman, and the last 20 years on active duty). Highlights include serving as the Chief of Strategic Communications for the Army National Guard, as Public Affairs Advisor to the Director, Army National Guard, and as Press Desk Officer at the Office of the Secretary of Defense for Public Affairs. He deployed to Iraq in 2011-2012 as the Command Historian for US. Forces-Iraq. He retired as a colonel in June 2018.

A native of Queens, New York, Mr. Melnyk holds both a Masters and a Ph.D. in History from the Cit University of New York, and a Masters in Government Information Leadership from National Defense University. He is a graduate of both the Public Affairs Officer Qualification Course and Joint Senior Public Affairs Course at the Defense Information School in Ft. Meade, Md.

Les’ is the son of Colonel (ret.) Bohdan Melnyk, a 35-year veteran of the active Army and Army Reserve. Bohdan Melnyk, originally from a small village near Lviv, was taken from his home by the Germans to serve as forced labor during World War II, liberated by the U.S. Army, and spent 4 years in a Displaced Persons camp before being allowed to emigrate to the United States.

Les’ has been married for 27 years to Stephanie Scott-Melnyk, PhD, and together they have two children. They live in Stephanie’s home town of Washington, DC.

Major General Borys Kremenetskyi

MGen Borys Kremenetskyi

Major General Borys Kremenetskyi had been deployed as Head of the Ukrainian side of the Joint Ceasefire Coordination and Control Centre for Eastern Ukraine (JCCC). He followed as Defense and Air Attaché, Embassy of Ukraine to the United Kingdom (2017 – 2020), until taking over his current appointment as Defense Attaché, Embassy of Ukraine to the USA.

Major General Borys Kremenetskyi is currently serving as Defense Attaché, Embassy of Ukraine to the USA.

Between 1983 and 2000, Kremenetskyi held various Air Force command, staff and administrative positions on Squadron, Regiment and Heavy Bomber Division levels, including Flight Engineer, Chief of Squadron Group, Senior Regiment Engineer and Chief Engineer of the Heavy Bomber Division. His international and operational experience include:

  • Military Observer, UN Mission to Tajikistan (1995 – 1996).
  • Deputy Branch Chief at the Cooperation and Regional Security Division, NATO International Military Staff (2002 – 2006),
  • Director, Euro-Atlantic Integration Department, Armed Forces of Ukraine (2006 – 2010).
  • Defense Adviser, Mission of Ukraine to the EU (2010 – 2014) following position of the First Deputy Chief, Military Cooperation and Peacekeeping Operations General Directorate, Armed Forces of Ukraine.

Kremenetskyi attended Avionics Navigational and Targeting Systems Special Courses and various courses at NATO Defence College, NATO School (Oberammergau) and George C. Marshall European Center for Security Studies. Additional education achievements include:

  • Kharkiv Air Force Engineer Academy (1983)
  • (MA Avionics Electronic and Automated Systems
  • US Air War College (1998)
  • National Security Course, John F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University (2000)

Kremenetskyi is married, and he has a daughter and a son, as well as two grand daughters. His hobbies include aviation history, fishing, hiking and cooking.

Oksana Kolyada

Former Minister for Veterans Affairs, Temporarily Occupied Territories and Internally Displaced Persons of Ukraine, from August 2019 to March 2020

Retired Colonel.

  • 2002 – Lviv State University of Internal Affairs, specialization – Law
  • 2007 – Master of Law in the Lviv State University of Internal Affairs
  • 2016 – 2017 – Developer of specialized courses for journalists, whose working in the ATO zone
  • 2016 – 2017 – Head of the working group of the Committee for Reforms of the Ministry of Defense of Ukraine, on the development of the strategic communications system in the Armed Forces of Ukraine
  • 2016 – 2017 – Student in the National Defense University of Ukraine, with specialization in Troops information support

Chair of Charitable Fund “Information and coordination center”; head of the NGO “Veterans’ House”; co-organizer of I and SS International Volunteer and Veterans Forum “Ukraine is where we are”; member of the working group on the creation of the Public Council under the Ministry of Veterans Affairs.

  • Till August 2017 – Head of the Communications and Press Department in the Ministry of Defense of Ukraine
  • During 3 months in 2017 – Deputy Commander of the ATO
  • “Through the war. Look of the volunteer” photobook manager (The author is Dmitryi Muravskyi, “Fierce cause” publishing)
  • Co-author and coordinator of the social projects “When the war ends”, “Face of the peace”, “Pisky. Exploaded world”
  • Media expert of the OSCE Project Coordinator Office in Ukraine
  • Coordinator of an expert Volunteer Council under the Chairman of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine
  • Member of the project office for the creation of the Ministry of Veterans Affairs of Ukraine

March 2019 – August 2019 – Deputy Minister of Veteran Affairs of Ukraine.

August 2019 – March 2020 – Minister for Veterans Affairs, Temporarily Occupied Territories and Internally Displaced Persons of Ukraine.

Kolyada was born in 1980 in Volochysk, Khmelnytsky region of Ukraine. She is married and has two sons.