Obama promises ‘full support’ to Ukraine’s President-elect Poroshenko
Tue May 27, 2014 8:38PM GMT
US President Barack Obama has called Petro Poroshenko, the newly elected president of Ukraine, and offered him Washington’s “full support”.
Obama said on Tuesday the United States would provide assistance to Ukraine as Poroshenko “seeks to unify and move his country forward,” the White House said in a statement.
On Sunday, the 48-year-old billionaire chocolate manufacturer claimed the Ukrainian presidency with about 55 percent of the votes cast in the election.
Obama “stressed the importance of quickly implementing the reforms necessary for Ukraine to bring the country together and to develop a sustainable economy, attractive investment climate, and transparent and accountable government that is responsive to the concerns and aspirations of all Ukrainians,” the White House said.
“The two leaders agreed to continue their conversation during the president’s upcoming trip to Europe,” it added.
In an interview on Monday night, Ukraine’s new president-elect said that he wants direct US military aid, saying “when your neighbor’s house is burning, you should lend him your hose.”
“We should cooperate in military technical assistance and in advising assistance. We are ready to fight for independence, and we should build up the armed forces of Ukraine,” Poroshenko told The Washington Post.
In a separate statement on Monday, he also said that one of his main priorities is to return Crimea to Ukraine.
“One of the first priorities of the work of the president and all Ukrainian authorities will be the solution of the Crimean issue: the return of the Crimea to Ukraine, the protection of the Ukrainians living in the Crimea, who, because of being Ukrainians, now suffer from extremely high pressure,” said Poroshenko at a news briefing in Kiev, the Interfax Ukraine reported.
The Autonomous Republic of Crimea declared independence from Ukraine on March 17 and formally applied to become part of Russia following a referendum a day earlier, in which nearly 97 percent of the participants voted in favor of the move. On March 21, Crimea officially became part of the Russian territory.
On April 17, Russia, Ukraine, the US and the European Union agreed over steps to “de-escalate” the crisis in eastern Ukraine, where anti-Kiev protesters seized buildings in several towns and cities.
But, Ukrainian authorities have ordered military operations against pro-Russian protesters in both eastern and southern Ukraine, claiming that Russian special forces are fueling unrest in the country.
Moscow has dismissed as “nonsense” claims that Russian special forces are fomenting unrest in Ukraine.
A fire at a Trade Unions House in the southwestern port city of Odessa earlier this month led to at least 46 deaths that had been sheltering opponents of the US-backed interim government of Ukraine.
According to reports, members of neo-Nazi Right Sector set the building on fire in Odessa. The victims were burnt alive within the premises and video footage showed bloodied and wounded survivors being attacked by the extremists.
According to a recent report in the German newspaper Bild am Sonntag, the US Central Intelligence Agency and Federal Bureau of Investigation are helping the interim authorities in Kiev to end the crisis.
The newspaper, citing unnamed German security sources, reported that dozens of CIA and FBI agents are involved in the offensive against the pro-Russian activists.
Earlier this year, US Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs Victoria Nuland disclosed that Washington has “invested” about $ 5 billion in “promoting democracy” in Ukraine over the past two decades.
In early February, Nuland visited Ukraine and held meetings with anti-Kremlin politicians who organized anti-government protests that led to the ouster of Viktor Yanukovych, the country’s democratically-elected president