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Ukraine's President: Trump Raised 'Russian Aggression' in Phone Call

  • VOA News

Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko, left, speaks with European Council President Donald Tusk prior to a media conference at the conclusion of an EU-Ukraine summit, Brussels, Nov. 24, 2016.

Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko, left, speaks with European Council President Donald Tusk prior to a media conference at the conclusion of an EU-Ukraine summit, Brussels, Nov. 24, 2016.

Ukraine's President Petro Poroshenko said Thursday that U.S. president-elect Donald Trump raised "the questions of Russian aggression, of the illegal annexation of Crimea," in a telephone conversation they had.

Speaking at a joint news conference in Brussels with European Council President Donald Tusk and European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker, Poroshenko said he had "an opportunity to give Trump very detailed information about the latest situation in the east of my country and in Crimea."

The Ukrainian president also said his country has "strong bipartisan support in the United States, in Congress, among the United States' politicians, both Republicans and Democrats, and we don't expect any significant changes in this bipartisan support."

Comments made by Trump during the U.S. presidential campaign raised fears that if he won, he would tilt toward improving relations with Russia at Ukraine's expense. He praised Russian President Vladimir Putin's leadership and criticized Democratic Party candidate Hillary Clinton for speaking "very badly" of Putin.

Several days after Trump's victory, the Kremlin said he and Putin had agreed in a telephone call that U.S.-Russian relations were “unsatisfactory” and that they should work together to improve them.

Commenting on that same phone conversation, Trump's office said Putin had called to “offer his congratulations” and that the U.S. president-elect "noted to President Putin that he is very much looking forward to having a strong and enduring relationship with Russia and the people of Russia."

Meanwhile, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said Thursday in remarks at Oxford University in England that Trump had expressed "strong support" for the Western military alliance during a phone conversation the two had last week.

"I spoke to President-elect last week on the phone and he expressed strong support to NATO, he expressed strong support to the idea of NATO, of our collective defense, of our security guarantees and I am certain that will continue to be the case," Stoltenberg said.

"Not only because the president-elect stated clearly that he supports NATO and the obligations we all have made being members of the alliance, but also I strongly believe it because (a) strong NATO is not only good for Europe -- it’s obviously good for us because ... I would say (it) is a cornerstone of our security -- but it is also good for United States."

During the presidential campaign, Trump said the United States needs to "rethink" its involvement in NATO, saying the U.S. was paying "far too much" of the bill for the alliance, and even said that NATO "may be obsolete."

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