News / Europe

    Remarks by President Obama and President-elect Petro Poroshenko of Ukraine After Bilateral Meeting

    U.S. President Barack Obama, right, shakes hands with Ukraine president-elect Petro Poroshenko in Warsaw, Poland, June 4, 2014.
    U.S. President Barack Obama, right, shakes hands with Ukraine president-elect Petro Poroshenko in Warsaw, Poland, June 4, 2014.
    Warsaw Marriott Hotel
    Warsaw, Poland

    10:45 A.M. CET
     

    PRESIDENT OBAMA:  Well, it is a great pleasure for me to have the opportunity to have my first extended meeting with President-elect Poroshenko and to hear about his plans for a peaceful and prosperous Ukraine.  Obviously, Ukraine has gone through a very challenging time.  And what we have seen has been a incredible outpouring of democracy in the face of actions by Russia as well as armed militias in certain portions of the east that violate international law, violate sovereignty, and have spurred great violence.
     

    Despite all that, what 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.  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, that they can succeed and that they can choose their own representatives, and that those representatives will look out for their interests and not the interests of only those in power. 
     

    That’s the hope that President-elect Poroshenko represents.  And in my discussions with him today it’s clear that he understands the aspirations and the hopes of the Ukrainian people.  And when I say the Ukrainian people, I mean all the Ukrainian people.  I think that President-elect Poroshenko recognizes that his mandate is not just to help certain portions of his country succeed, but all portions of his country succeed.
     

    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.  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. 
     

    The challenge now for the international community is to make sure that we are supporting Petro’s efforts.  And the United States has already stepped up in a number of ways.  We’re supplementing the assistance that the IMF is providing with $1 billion in additional loan guarantees, and we’ve discussed additional steps that we might take to help during this reform and transition process.  We’ve discussed additional steps that we can take to help train and professionalize the Ukrainian law enforcement and military so they can deal with some of the challenges that are still taking place in certain portions of the country.  And, in fact, today we announced some additional non-lethal assistance that we can provide -- things like night vision goggles that will help a professional Ukrainian military force do its job. 
     

    And finally, we discussed how in my meetings today with the G7 and tomorrow with the G7, as well as conversations that I’m having with other European leaders, it’s important for the international community to stand solidly behind the efforts of Petro to broker with the Russians a process whereby Russia no longer is financing or supporting or arming separatists on Ukraine’s sovereign territory, and that a unified international community that is clear that that is a violation of international law and that is willing to back up those principles with consequences for Russia should Mr. Putin not seize this opportunity to develop a lawful and better relationship with his neighbors -- that that has to be part of our mission over the next several days. 
     

    So I’m excited about the opportunities.  I think that the Ukrainian people made a wise selection in somebody who has the ability to lead them through this difficult period.  And the United States is absolutely committed to standing behind the Ukrainian people and their aspirations not just in the coming days and weeks but in the coming years, because we’re confident that Ukraine can, in fact, be a thriving, vital democracy that has strong relationships with Europe and has strong relationships with Russia.  But that can only happen if we stand clearly behind them during this difficult time.
     

    Thank you so much for taking the time to meet.
     

    PRESIDENT-ELECT POROSHENKO:  I want to thank President Obama, the United States people, the United States government and Congress for the continuous support demonstrating for the fight, the Ukrainian people, for freedom, for democracy, for building up independent sovereign European state.  This is crucially important for us, and now we feel a friend in need is a friend indeed.  The American position of the American people is very, very important for us.  
     

    Point number two is that from the very beginning, from the first day of inauguration, we are ready to present the plan for peaceful relation, the situation in the east.  And we think that the next several days will be very important, crucial, for the Ukrainian -- history of Ukrainian perspective.  We pay very much attention about the G7 meeting, about the statement, about the possibility for finding out the position for peaceful process on Normandy, when we have -- first Ukraine were invited as a member of anti-Hitler coalition and celebration of the D-Day.  And I think this will be very symbolic because exactly in Normandy we can start to find out this peaceful process in Ukraine.
     

    I want to thank the President for the support in our initiative in the reforming in the energy sector.  I’m very satisfied about our future cooperation in the anti-corruption deal that I think this is crucially important points for the modernization of the country.  I think that our top two very important issue -- we thank you for supporting Ukraine in solving our Crimea problem.  We demonstrate that -- the whole world demonstrate the solidarity in Ukraine in not accepting the aggression in Crimea, in not accepting this whole fake referendum, and not accepting the annexing of the part of Ukrainian territory.  And all the time we will demand restoring law and order, and withdraw the foreign troops from the Crimean territory.
     

    And also, I think it is very important that the United States support the European aspiration of the Ukrainian people.  That is half a year Ukrainian people, millions of Ukrainian people on the street fighting for now and signing a association agreement for the European perspective for my country.  And I think that the modernization of the country, providing the reform of the -- creating the good investment climate, building on the independent coal system, providing the energy efficiency and energy diversification helps Ukrainian people to receive membership perspective for the European Union in very near future after successful program for the modernization, with the strong assistance of the United States of America.
     

    I thank you very much for that.  And I think this was very fruitful and effective negotiation.
     

    END

    10:55 A.M. CET

    You May Like

    In Britain, The Sun Still Doesn’t Shine

    Invoking Spitfires and Merlin, Leave voters insist country can be great again, following surprising 'Brexit' vote last week

    Double Wave of Suicide Bombings Puts Lebanon, Refugees on Edge

    Following suicide bombings in Christian town of Al-Qaa, on Lebanon's northeast border with Syria, fears of further bombings have risen

    US Senators Warned on Zika After Failing to Pass Funding

    Zika threats and challenges, as well as issues of contraception and vaccines, spelled out as lawmakers point fingers

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Slow Rebuilding Amid Boko Haram Destruction in Nigeria’s Northeasti
    X
    June 29, 2016 6:15 PM
    Military operations have chased Boko Haram out of towns and cities in Nigeria’s northeast since early last year. But it is only recently that people have begun returning to their homes in Adamawa state, near the border with Cameroon, to try to rebuild their lives. For VOA, Chris Stein traveled to the area and has this report.
    Video

    Video Slow Rebuilding Amid Boko Haram Destruction in Nigeria’s Northeast

    Military operations have chased Boko Haram out of towns and cities in Nigeria’s northeast since early last year. But it is only recently that people have begun returning to their homes in Adamawa state, near the border with Cameroon, to try to rebuild their lives. For VOA, Chris Stein traveled to the area and has this report.
    Video

    Video Clinton Leads Trump, But Many Voters Don't Like Either

    In the U.S. presidential race, most recent polls show Democrat Hillary Clinton with a steady lead over Republican Donald Trump as both presumptive party nominees prepare for their party conventions next month. Trump’s disapproval ratings have risen in some recent surveys, but Clinton also suffers from high negative ratings, suggesting both candidates have a lot of work to do to improve their images before the November election. VOA National correspondent Jim Malone has more from Washington.
    Video

    Video New US Ambassador to Somalia Faces Heavy Challenges

    The new U.S. envoy to Somalia, who was sworn into office Monday, will be the first American ambassador to that nation in 25 years. He will take up his post as Somalia faces a number of crucial issues, including insecurity, an upcoming election, and the potential closure of the Dadaab refugee camp in Kenya. VOA’s Jill Craig asked Somalis living in Kenya’s capital city Nairobi how they feel about the U.S. finally installing a new ambassador.
    Video

    Video At National Zoo, Captivating Animal Sculptures Illustrate Tragedy of Ocean Pollution

    The National Zoo in Washington, D.C., is home to about 1,800 animals, representing 300 species. But throughout the summer, visitors can also see other kinds of creatures there. They are larger-than-life animal sculptures that speak volumes about a global issue — the massive plastic pollution in our oceans. VOA's June Soh takes us to the zoo's special exhibit, called Washed Ashore: Art to Save the Sea.
    Video

    Video Baghdad Bikers Defy War with a Roar

    Baghdad is a city of contradictions. War is a constant. Explosions and kidnappings are part of daily life. But the Iraqi capital remains a thriving city, even if a little beat up. VOA's Sharon Behn reports on how some in Baghdad are defying the stereotype of a nation at war by pursuing a lifestyle known for its iconic symbols of rebellion: motorbikes, leather jackets and roaring engines.
    Video

    Video Melting Pot of Immigrants Working to Restore US Capitol Dome

    The American Iron Works company is one of the firms working to renovate the iconic U.S. Capitol Dome. The company employs immigrants of many different cultural and national backgrounds. VOA’s Arman Tarjimanyan has more.
    Video

    Video Testing Bamboo as Building Material

    For thousands of years various species of bamboo - one of the world's most versatile plants - have been used for diverse purposes ranging from food and medicine to textiles and construction. But its use on a large scale is hampered because it's not manufactured to specific standards but grown in the ground. A University of Pittsburgh professor is on track to changing that. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Orphanage in Iraqi City Houses Kids Who Lost their Parents to Attacks by IS

    An orphanage in Iraqi Kurdistan has become home to scores of Yazidi children who lost their parents after Islamic State militants took over Sinjar in Iraq’s Nineveh Province in 2014. Iraqi Kurdish forces backed by the U.S. airstrikes have since recaptured Sinjar but the need for the care provided by the orphanage continues. VOA’s Kawa Omar filed this report narrated by Rob Raffaele.
    Video

    Video Re-Opening Old Wounds in a Bullet-Riddled Cultural Landmark

    A cultural landmark before Lebanon’s civil war transformed it into a nest of snipers, Beirut’s ‘Yellow House’ is once again set to play a crucial role in the city.  Built in a neo-Ottoman style in the 1920s, in September it is set to be re-opened as a ‘memory museum’ - its bullet-riddled walls and bunkered positions overlooking the city’s notorious ‘Green Line’ maintained for posterity. John Owens reports from Beirut.
    Video

    Video Brexit Resounds in US Presidential Contest

    Britain’s decision to leave the European Union is resounding in America’s presidential race. As VOA’s Michael Bowman reports, Republican presumptive nominee Donald Trump sees Britain’s move as an affirmation of his campaign’s core messages, while Democrat Hillary Clinton sees the episode as further evidence that Trump is unfit to be president.
    Video

    Video NASA Juno Spacecraft, Nearing Jupiter, to Shed Light on Gas Giant

    After a five-year journey, the spacecraft Juno is nearing its destination, the giant planet Jupiter, where it will enter orbit and start sending data back July 4th. As Mike O'Sullivan reports from Pasadena, California, the craft will pierce the veil of Jupiter's dense cloud cover to reveal its mysteries.
    Video

    Video Orlando Shooting Changes Debate on Gun Control

    It’s been nearly two weeks since the largest mass shooting ever in the United States. Despite public calls for tighter gun control laws, Congress is at an impasse. Democratic lawmakers resorted to a 1960s civil rights tactic to portray their frustration. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti explains how the Orlando, Florida shooting is changing the debate.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora