News / Europe

Ukraine's Poroshenko Plans New Team to Take on Putin

Ukraine's President-elect Petro Poroshenko shows the presidential seal during his inauguration ceremony in the parliament hall in Kyiv, June 7, 2014.
Ukraine's President-elect Petro Poroshenko shows the presidential seal during his inauguration ceremony in the parliament hall in Kyiv, June 7, 2014.
Reuters
Ukraine's newly-installed President Petro Poroshenko is set to remake a governing team which will handle the crisis with Russia, with talks on gas prices on Monday providing an early test of his new relationship with Russia's Vladimir Putin.

Poroshenko's swearing-in as president at a pomp-filled, but relaxed, ceremony on Saturday conveyed the feeling that a line had been drawn under six months of unprecedented and bloody upheaval which toppled his predecessor, Viktor Yanukovich.

But behind the euphoria that Ukraine might now, at last, start to "Live in a new way", as Poroshenko's campaign slogan has promised, lies the reality of seething separatism in the east in which Ukraine sees Moscow's hand, and Russia's opposition to his plans to lead Ukraine into mainstream Europe.

Poroshenko's blunt refusal to accept the loss of Crimea in a combative inaugural speech puts him further at odds with Putin.
 
Ukraine's President-elect Petro Poroshenko, left, walks past Russian President Vladimir Putin during the commemoration of the 70th anniversary of the D-Day in Ouistreham, western France, June 6, 2014.Ukraine's President-elect Petro Poroshenko, left, walks past Russian President Vladimir Putin during the commemoration of the 70th anniversary of the D-Day in Ouistreham, western France, June 6, 2014.
x
Ukraine's President-elect Petro Poroshenko, left, walks past Russian President Vladimir Putin during the commemoration of the 70th anniversary of the D-Day in Ouistreham, western France, June 6, 2014.
Ukraine's President-elect Petro Poroshenko, left, walks past Russian President Vladimir Putin during the commemoration of the 70th anniversary of the D-Day in Ouistreham, western France, June 6, 2014.

An indication of whether Putin is ready to give the 48-year-old businessman-politician some early breaks or test him in his first days in office may come in trilateral talks in Brussels on Monday aimed at solving a dispute over the price of Russian gas.

Russia has threatened to cut off supplies to its neighbor, a major gas transit route to the European Union, if it fails to pay its debts to Gazprom by Tuesday.

In early steps to install key allies, Poroshenko is expected in the coming days to name new foreign and defense ministers.

The rebellions, in which pro-Russian separatists have declared "people's republics", have claimed scores of lives in clashes between government forces and armed militias. Militia leaders declared on Saturday they would not give up their fight.

These are not the only challenges facing Poroshenko. He inherits a country on the verge of bankruptcy which is rated by monitoring agencies as one of Europe's most corrupt and ill-governed.

Crimea

Poroshenko, a billionaire from a confectionery business with big experience in government, says he is pen-poised to sign an association and trade agreement this month with the EU.

His pledge to stick to West-leaning policies was quickly rewarded in the shape of aid worth $48 million from Washington to go towards economic reform.

The EU agreement - which Yanukovich spurned, sparking street protests that finally drove him from office - will take Ukraine into a free-trade zone with the European Union, thwarting Putin's ambition of keeping Kyiv in his sphere of influence.

Putin, who is under threat of further Western sanctions over his Ukraine policies, warned on Friday that as soon as Ukraine signed the agreement and it came into force Russia would be obliged to take steps to defend its economy and its markets.

In his inaugural speech, Poroshenko vowed he would never accept the loss of Crimea which Russia annexed in March following the fall of the Moscow-backed Yanukovich. He declared: "Crimea was, is and will be Ukrainian soil". But the reality on the ground is that there are few, if any, forces that can persuade Russia to hand the territory back.

A greater priority, analysts say, must be to end the rebellions which threaten Poroshenko's vision of a unitary state.

He reached out to the people of the east on Saturday promising to guarantee their Russian-language rights and the prospect of a bigger say in running their own affairs.

He offered rebels an amnesty if they laid down their weapons and a secure corridor back to Russia for Russian fighters.

But - as with almost all the problems facing Poroshenko - ending the rebellions requires the goodwill and cooperation of others, in this case that of Putin.

New ministers

In what might be a positive signal from Moscow, Russian news agencies reported Putin had ordered the Federal Security Service to strengthen protection of the border with Ukraine and prevent people crossing illegally.
 
An armed pro-Russian separatist guards a border post abandoned by Ukrainian border guards at Chervonopartyzansk along the Ukraine-Russia border, June 7 2014.An armed pro-Russian separatist guards a border post abandoned by Ukrainian border guards at Chervonopartyzansk along the Ukraine-Russia border, June 7 2014.
x
An armed pro-Russian separatist guards a border post abandoned by Ukrainian border guards at Chervonopartyzansk along the Ukraine-Russia border, June 7 2014.
An armed pro-Russian separatist guards a border post abandoned by Ukrainian border guards at Chervonopartyzansk along the Ukraine-Russia border, June 7 2014.

The move was potentially significant because Ukraine and Western governments have been pressing Moscow to stop what they say is a flow of Russian arms and fighters into eastern Ukraine.

First steps for Poroshenko, whose confectionery business earned him the nickname of the "Chocolate King", will be to name some key members of 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.

Other key allies will be Prime Minister Arseny Yatseniuk, who is at the forefront of the sensitive gas talks with Russia over pricing. The liberal prime minister, himself a former economy minister, has already pledged to work "as a single whole" with the president and parliament.

You May Like

US Imposes Sanctions on Alleged Honduran Drug Gang

Treasury department alleges Los Valles group is responsible for smuggling tens of thousands of kilograms of cocaine into US each month More

At 91, Marvel Creator Stan Lee Continues to Expand his Universe

Company's chief emeritus hopes to interest new generation of children in superheroes of all shapes and sizes by publishing content across multiple media platforms More

Photogallery New Drug Protects Against Virus in Ebola Family

Study by researchers at University of Texas Medical Branch, Tekmira Pharmaceuticals is first looking at drug's effectiveness after onset of symptoms More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Serge from: SPb
June 09, 2014 8:53 AM
Poroshenko don't want a peace in his country, he want to win, he has blood on his hands. People of Donbass never forgive him.


by: gen from: japan
June 09, 2014 8:44 AM
Ukraine is a nation? They can't protect their boder from the foreigners by their own.They can't pay the gas to Russia.then They ask Russia to prevent the foreigner from getting into the country.They ask US and Europe to protect their country.They ask US to donate money.But they say Ukraine is independet country.What a shameful country! It is natutal that the Crimea people wanted to choose in Russia. The Crimea people will not live in such a shameful nation like Ukraine.


by: Artur from: Kiev
June 09, 2014 6:00 AM
We,Ukrainians are a bit frustrated with the West's policy toward Russia's aggression against us. We feel betrayed by EU and USA,because we paid big price to turn our country towards the West but we are not protected. Russia must be punished by what it does with Ukraine.


by: Ivan from: Russ
June 09, 2014 3:33 AM
How could thay say "Russians crossing the border" when don't even have any proof?

Russian-speaking doesn't mean "citizen of Russia". There are about 50% if not more russian-speaking ukranians on the East.


by: Mark from: Virginia
June 08, 2014 5:34 PM
Okay, the U.S. has given them money, 48 million hard-earned tax-payer dollars. That is ALL we Americans need to do now. Keep our noses out of it from here on out. Ukraine has a new president, and whatever decisions need to be made now, are to come from Ukraine and Russia, NOT the U.S.
Their elections are over, now let the new government in Kyev do what they need to do for their own country. It should no longer be a concern for America. End of story. Period. Done. Finished.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
African Media Tries to Educate Public About Ebolai
X
George Putic
August 20, 2014 8:57 PM
While the Ebola epidemic continues to claim lives in West Africa, information technology specialists, together with radio and TV reporters, are battling misinformation and prejudice about the disease - using social media to educate the public about the deadly virus. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video African Media Tries to Educate Public About Ebola

While the Ebola epidemic continues to claim lives in West Africa, information technology specialists, together with radio and TV reporters, are battling misinformation and prejudice about the disease - using social media to educate the public about the deadly virus. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Ferguson Calls for Justice as Anger, Violence Grips Community

Violence, anger and frustration continue to grip the small St. Louis suburb of Ferguson, Missouri. Protests broke out after a white police officer fatally shot an unarmed black teenager on August 9. The case has sparked outrage around the nation and prompted the White House to send U.S. Attorney Eric Holder to the small community of just over 20,000 people. VOA’s Mary Alice Salinas has more from Ferguson.
Video

Video Beheading Of US Journalist Breeds Outrage

U.S. and British authorities have launched an investigation into an Islamic State video showing the beheading of kidnapped American journalist James Foley by a militant with a British accent. The extremist group, which posted the video on the Internet Tuesday, said the murder was revenge for U.S. airstrikes on militant positions in Iraq - and has threatened to execute another American journalist it is holding. Henry Ridgwell has more from London.
Video

Video Family Robots - The Next Big Thing?

Robots that can help us with daily chores like cooking and cleaning are a long way off, but automatons that serve as family companions may be much closer. Researchers in the United States, France, Japan and other countries are racing to build robots that can entertain and perform some simpler tasks for us. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video In Ukraine, Fear and Distrust Remain Where Fighting has Stopped

As the Ukrainian military reclaims control of eastern cities from pro-Russian separatists, residents are getting a chance to rebuild their lives. VOA's Gabe Joselow reports from the town of Kramatorsk in Donetsk province, where a sense of fear is still in the air, and distrust of the government in Kyiv still runs deep.
Video

Video Five Patients Given Experimental Ebola Drug Said to Be Improving

The World Health Organization has approved the use of experimental treatments for Ebola patients in West Africa. The Ebola outbreak there is unprecedented, the disease deadly. The number of people who have died from Ebola has surpassed 1,200. VOA's Carol Pearson reports on the ethical considerations of allowing experimental drugs to be used.
Video

Video China Targets Overseas Assets of Corrupt Officials

As China presses forward with its anti-graft effort, authorities are targeting corrupt officials who have sent family members and assets overseas. The efforts have stirred up a debate at home on exactly how many officials take that route and how likely it is they will be caught. Rebecca Valli has this report.
Video

Video Leading The Fight Against Islamic State, Kurds Question Iraqi Future

Western countries including the United States have begun arming the Kurdish Peshmerga forces in northern Iraq to aid their battle against extremist Sunni militants from the Islamic State. But there are concerns that a heavily-armed Kurdistan Regional Government, or KRG, might seek to declare independence and cause the break-up of the Iraqi state. As Henry Ridgwell reports from London, the KRG says it will only seek greater autonomy from Baghdad.
Video

Video In Rural Kenya, Pressure Builds Against Female Circumcision

In some Kenyan communities, female genital mutilation remains a rite of passage. But activists are pushing back, with education for girls and with threats of punishment those who perform the circumcision. Mohammed Yusuf looks at the practice in the rural eastern community of Tharaka-Nithi.

AppleAndroid