Obama pledges full support to Ukraine’s new president
WARSAW: US President Barack Obama endorsed Ukraine’s president-elect Petro Poroshenko on Wednesday, offering Kiev financial and security help and saying he was the right choice to lead the country through its stand-off with Moscow.
With the death toll mounting from fighting between Kiev’s forces and pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine, Obama met Poroshenko for the first time since his election last month and said he was impressed with what he found.
“What Ukrainians said in the elections is that they reject that path. They reject violence,” and want the opportunity to determine their own future, Obama told reporters after meeting Poroshenko in the Polish capital.
“That’s the hope that President Poroshenko represents,” Obama said. “In my discussions with him today it’s clear he understands the hopes and aspirations of the Ukrainian people.”
Obama described Poroshenko as a “wise selection” by the Ukrainian people and said: “I have been deeply impressed by his vision.”
Poroshenko, a billionaire confectionary magnate who now takes over a country in deep crisis, told reporters he was preparing to unveil a plan for “the peaceful resolution of the situation in the east” soon after his inauguration on Saturday. He said a gathering of world leaders in Normandy, France, on Friday to mark the 75th anniversary of the World War Two D-Day landings would be crucial for the plan.
Obama, Russia’s Vladimir Putin, and Poroshenko will all be at the Normandy commemorations — the first time they have been in the same location since the crisis in Ukraine began — though there is no plan at the moment for them to have a meeting.
“Exactly in Normandy we can start to find out this peaceful process in Ukraine,” Poroshenko said in English.
Poroshenko won a landslide victory on May 25 to fill the office left vacant after a pro-Russian president fled an uprising in late February, the start of a crisis that saw Moscow seize Ukraine’s Crimea peninsula and pro-Russian separatists rise up in Ukraine’s east.
Meanwhile, EU Commission head Jose Manuel Barroso said on Wednesday that the European Union was ready to organize talks next month to set up a donor’s conference for the new government in Ukraine.
“We stand ready to organize a donors’ coordination meeting in Brussels in July,” Barroso said at the opening of a G7 leaders summit, where Ukraine will dominate the agenda.