Petro Poroshenko promised peace and unity, which includes reclaiming Crimea from Russia, in his inauguration speech. The next step in the process is appointing new ministers and members to his team.
He is expected soon to name a new foreign minister – possibly Valery Chaly who has been in charge of foreign policy issues in his campaign. He has the right also to name a defense minister – another key post given the army’s involvement in quelling the eastern rebellions and the perceived need to stop Russian fighters crossing the border.
Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk already told Ukraine he will work with the new president and is currently trying to form a new gas deal with Russia.
Poroshenko’s election did nothing to stop the fighting in east Ukraine between the Ukrainian army and pro-Russian forces. During a meeting that included the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) and Russia’s ambassador to Kiev, he said fighting in the east must end this week.
“We must end the fighting this week. For me, every day in which people die, every day in which Ukraine pays such a high price, is unacceptable,” Poroshenko said. “And to do that, we must restore the Ukrainian border so that the safety of each Ukrainian citizen is guaranteed.”
Unfortunately, fighting continued in Slaviansk and Luhansk. One soldier told the AFP rebels attacked the Luhansk airport in the worst attack by the pro-Russians.
“It was clear the rebels were trying to destroy the building which controls the power supply to the airport,” he said. “It’s the first time we have had an attack of this kind. Up till now, we’ve only had a few skirmishes.”
In Slaviansk, the water was turned off last Tuesday due to a water break and it is too violent in the area for anyone to fix the pipeline. Families are fleeing the region and the ones who stay are stuck in basements out of fear of being hit by shells or bullets.