President Barack Obama met Ukraine’s President-elect Petro Poroshenko in Warsaw, Poland, and said Poroshenko represents everything Ukraine needs to triumph over Russia. East Ukraine encounters daily violence between pro-Russian forces and the Ukrainian army.
“[W]hat the Ukrainians said in the election that resulted in President-elect Poroshenko’s inauguration on Saturday is that they reject that past. They reject violence. They reject corruption,” said Obama. “And what they’re interested in is the opportunity for Ukrainians to make their own decisions about their own future – a future in which if people work hard, if they are willing to educate themselves and apply themselves… they can succeed and… can choose their own representatives, and [in which] those representatives will look out for their interests and not the interests of only those in power.”
Poroshenko will be inaugurated on Saturday and will reveal his plan for peace shortly after. He did not tell the media any details of the plan but discussed it with Obama. Obama told the media he is impressed with the plan.
“We had the opportunity to discuss President-elect Poroshenko’s plans for bringing peace and order to the east that is still experiencing conflict. We discussed his economic plans and the importance of rooting out corruption, increasing transparency, and creating new models of economic growth,” said Obama. “We discussed issues of energy – making sure that Ukraine becomes a more energy-efficient economy but also one that is less dependent solely on energy sources from Russia. And I have been deeply impressed by his vision, in part because of his experience as a businessman, in understanding what’s required to help Ukraine grow and to be effective.”
Obama announced aid and help for Ukraine as Poroshenko takes the steps to rebuild after months of turmoil. From Reuters:
The White House said in a statement after the meeting that Obama had approved an additional $23 million in defense security assistance to Ukraine since early March, including $5 million for “the provision of body armor, night vision goggles, and additional communications equipment.”
Now Obama will meet with other G7 leaders in Brussels. It was originally the G8, but the group kicked out Russia due to its aggression towards Ukraine and annexation of Crimea. The meeting was scheduled in Sochi, Russia, but moved to Brussels after Russia was removed. It is the first time in 17 years Russia will not be a part of the meeting.
Poroshenko will join Obama and other Western leaders in Normandy, France, on Friday to celebrate the 70th anniversary of the D-Day landings. Russian President Vladimir Putin will be in attendance, but the Kremlin made it clear he will not meet with Poroshenko.