News / Europe

New Ukraine President Seeks End to Violence

Poroshenko Assumes Presidency of Conflict-Torn Ukrainei
X
Gabe Joselow
June 07, 2014 7:36 PM
Ukraine's Petro Poroshenko is sworn in as the country's new president Saturday and offers to hold negotiations to end a pro-Russian insurgency in the east. VOA's Gabe Joselow reports from Kyiv.
VIDEO: Ukraine's Petro Poroshenko is sworn in as the country's new president Saturday and offers to hold negotiations to end a pro-Russian insurgency in the east. VOA's Gabe Joselow reports from Kyiv.
Gabe Joselow
In his first address as Ukraine's new president, Petro Poroshenko declared that Crimea "is, was and will be Ukrainian."
 
The billionaire businessman took the oath of office in Kyiv Saturday, in front of parliament, world leaders and dignitaries including U.S. Vice President Joe Biden.
Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko appears in Sophia Square, Kyiv, June 7, 2014.Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko appears in Sophia Square, Kyiv, June 7, 2014.
x
Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko appears in Sophia Square, Kyiv, June 7, 2014.
Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko appears in Sophia Square, Kyiv, June 7, 2014.


Poroshenko — Ukraine's fifth president since the 1991 breakup of the Soviet Union — said in his inaugural address that he will not accept Russia's annexation of Crimea. Moscow sent troops to the Black Sea peninsula earlier this year and took control of it in March.
 
The new Ukrainian leader also pledged to open a dialogue with countrymen in eastern regions where pro-Russian separatists have clashed with Ukrainian forces.
 
He offered amnesty to fighters who lay down their arms and offered to negotiate an end to the violence.
 
Petro Poroshenko
 
  • Born in 1965 in Bohlrad, near the southwestern city of Odessa
  • Known as the 'Chocolate King' for his ownership of the Roshen confectionery business
  • One of Ukraine's richest men, worth at least $1.3 billion
  • Served in parliament and as foreign minister and economic and development minister
  • Worked with both pro-Russian and pro-European political factions
  • Was a key figure in the 2004 Orange Revolution
  • Was first Ukrainian billionaire to support anti-government protests in 2013
  • Won 55% of the vote in 2014 presidential elections

"I want peace and I will bring unity to Ukraine," Poroshenko said. "That's why I'm starting my work with a peace plan."
 
Poroshenko addressed eastern Ukrainians directly in a section of his speech in Russian. He promised a decentralization of power, respect for local communities as well as new regional elections.
 
Poroshenko has already held brief talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin about a possible cease-fire. They spoke Friday in France, during ceremonies commemorating the World War II battle of D-Day 70 years ago.
 
Many Ukrainians blame Russia for fueling violence in the east, where Russian fighters have been seen among rebels battling Ukrainian government troops. Moscow has repeatedly denied it is directing the rebels or has supplied their modern military equipment.
 
Meanwhile, Putin reportedly ordered the Federal Security Service to beef up protection of Russia's border with Ukraine. On Saturday, Russian news agencies said the move aims to prevent illegal crossings into Ukraine.
 
U.S. shows support

Biden attended the morning inauguration ceremony with the U.S. ambassador to Ukraine, Geoffrey Pyatt, and several other officials and lawmakers. Later in the day, he announced the U.S. is offering Ukraine an additional $48 million to help Kiyv enact reforms, build law enforcement capacity, and strengthen national unity. The U.S. also pledged $8 million to Moldova and $5 million to Moldova. The extra aid must be approved by Congress.
 
The White House said Saturday that such activities complement long-term U.S. assistance programs designed to support reforms and build institutional capacity across a range of sectors.
 
After the ceremony, Biden passed up a motorcade to stroll a couple of blocks to a presidential reception at St. Sophia cathedral. He set off with U.S. Sen. John McCain, soon joined by the rest of the delegation.
 
As they walked, crowds lined the way. Some people applauded and yelled "thank you" and "USA."
 
At St. Sophia, Poroshenko stood on a red carpet, flanked by Ukrainian flags. He and Biden spoke quietly for a couple minutes before posing for photos. McCain came next, greeting Poroshenko with a hug.
 
Sens. Chris Murphy and Ron Johnson and Rep. Marcy Kaptur greeted Poroshenko together. "It’s wonderful to stand with you," Murphy told the new president.

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry was visiting his ancestral home in Saint Briac-Sur-Mer, France, where he expressed the hope that, "in the next few days, we can see some steps taken that will reduce the tensions."

Kerry said such measures offered "the possibility of a cease-fire, the possibility of Russia helping to be able to get the separatists to begin to put their guns away, get out of buildings and begin to build Ukraine."
 
Poroshenko under microscope
 
Poroshenko's supporters and critics are watching to see how he will engage with Putin and others.
 
Taras, a Kyiv resident standing outside St. Sophia's Cathedral with his wife and infant son, said he thinks dialogue is the way forward.
 
Poroshenko “has to negotiate with Putin,” he said, “because only by negotiations can we find a solution." The new president, Taras said, "should demolish the terrorists and restore order in the country.”
 
In restive eastern Ukraine, Denis Pushilyn, head of the self-declared Donetsk People’s Republic’s Supreme Council, dismissed the prospect of peace talks without concessions by the central government.
 
"After they withdraw military forces from our territory, after we exchange hostages and prisoners of war from both sides... then maybe a dialogue with Poroshenko will be possible," the Associated Press reported Pushilyn as saying shortly after the inauguration speech.
 
Pushilyn said the new president was unwelcome in eastern Ukraine, adding, “We did not elect him.”
 
Poroshenko was elected by a wide margin in May, rising to power on a wave of nationalism that followed the ousting of his Russian-backed predecessor, Viktor Yanukovych, during protests in February.
 
A business perspective
 
The 48-year-old first came to prominence in Ukraine as a businessman, earning billions from his chain of Roshen candy stores.
 
Archbishop Stephan of Ukraine's Orthodox Church said he wonders if Poroshenko's money will get in the way of his ability to lead the people.
 
If Poroshenko “can be replanted into a position where he takes care of other people instead of his business, will he succeed?" the archbishop asked, adding, "I don't know. But we will pray that he will.”
 
Ukraine has long been divided between the pro-Russian east and the Europe-leaning west.
 
Poroshenko already has promised greater economic and diplomatic ties with Europe, a move that could anger Moscow and complicate his efforts to unite the country.
 
VO White House reporter Luis Ramirez contributed to this report. Some information was provided by Reuters, the Associated Press and AFP.

 
Error rendering storify.

You May Like

Yemen Brings US, Iran Closer to Naval Face-off

US sending two more ships to waters off coast of Yemen to take part in 'maritime security operations' More

Minorities Become Majority Across US

From 2000 to 2013, minorities became the majority in 78 counties in the United States. Here's where those demographic shifts are happening More

Japan's Maglev Train Breaks Own Speed Record

Seven-car 'magnetic levitation' train traveled at more than 600 kilometers per hour during test run Tuesday More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments page of 2
    Next 
by: David from: Chicago
June 08, 2014 11:43 AM
The United States is putting into place the Colombian option in Ukraine: forming a far-right paramilitary network of death squads willing to do the oligarchy's dirty work in eliminating a grassroots insurgency. Of course, this massive violation of human rights is being done, as always, in the name of democracy (which, conveniently, was overthrown with US support in the February coup).

by: gen from: Japan
June 07, 2014 10:40 PM
I have a question.Why did the new president issue a plan of hiring the young men from the eastern city of Ukraine when US vice president visited Ukraine? Before Truchynev issued the plan hiring the right sectors as a national guard forces when the US vice president visited Ukraine? US advised the government in Kiev?

by: meanbill from: USA
June 07, 2014 6:35 PM
CRAZY isn't it? .. The new President Poroshenko says he has a plan to bring peace to Ukraine -- (BUT?) -- if a person reads the plan, they'll find out it's the exact same old plan presented by the Ukraine Prime Minister Yatsenyuk, isn't it?

THE WISE MAN said it; -- The more things change, the more they stay the same, don't they? -- (THE PLAN?) -- No Kiev ceasefire or discussions or negotiations, until the pro-Russian separatists lay down their weapons and except Ukraine as their rulers. --- (Then they'll start negotiations?) ..... REALLY?

The news media see's what they want to see, and haven't a clue on what they're seeing -- "When planning to attack, act like you are withdrawing, and when you are withdrawing, act like you are planning to attack" -- "The Art of War" by Sun Tzu -- (QUESTION?) -- Is Russia bringing troops back to the border to stop arms and people crossing to help pro-Russian separatist, or are they preparing to cross the border for "humanitarian reasons" to protect the pro-Russian separatists from a holocaust, if the Ukrainians keep killing innocent pro-Russians? ... (Makes you think, doesn't it?)

by: christopher from: Dublin
June 07, 2014 4:11 PM
In his first address as Ukraine's new president, Petro Poroshenko declared that Crimea "is, was and will be Ukrainian."

The billionaire businessman took the oath of office in Kyiv Saturday, in front of parliament, world leaders and dignitaries including U.S. Vice President Joe Biden.

The gauntlet has been thrown down: and it's a bold move; by a brave man.

Putin is now sayig he is putting forces in place to stop armed men from coming into eastern Ukraine: which I believe about as much and as far as I trust Putin: which is, as my grandmother used to say...."about as far as I could throw a Cathedral..."

Yulia Tymoshenko better get this guy up to speed; and quick.....he doesn't have much time.....Donetsk is an armed camp......bad news....John McCain and Biden had a real chat walking together in Kyiv: and I know what the substance of those remarks was; as I and Joe Biden are joined are the hip...ask him, sometime....





In Response

by: meanbill from: USA
June 07, 2014 7:03 PM
DO YOU REMEMBER? -- President Obama calls Northern Ireland progress, a model for peace on June 18, 2013 -- (QUESTION?) -- Do you agree with that? -- If you agree with that, then you agree that the Crimea progress, is also a model for peace, isn't it? ---- Irish, Scott Irish, or Ulster Irish? --- Ukrainian or Crimean?

by: jesus.a.torres from: Venezuela
June 07, 2014 4:06 PM
Good luck for this guy - I think Crimea has been the best piece of the cake. Currently, Russia got it, has control over the peninsula.

by: Sumit from: Moscow, Russia
June 07, 2014 3:49 PM
Poroshenko is old wine in a new bottle. For those who do not know: he was practically in every government during the last decade. He was one of the founder sponsors of the Party of Regions, the leader of which was the ousted President, Yanukovich. Poroshenko held the post of Minister of Economic Development in that government. So to think that he was incorrupt in a totally corrupt government is naive. Poroshenko is a guy who changes his spots quickly. A deceptive chamaleon. And his ambition and egos are outsized; he will bring more bloodshed to the country. And will be shown the door within a year...expect another Maidan in this country by next year. It is a failed state...I don't see any chance of revival economic or political.

by: prosper from: moscow
June 07, 2014 3:33 PM
i have told some of my friends, russians are like someone without education, they just believe in themselves because of old money, a country that is so curropt i just don't know why dialoging with putin such is not necessary, russians don't think with their brains, i wonder when they are going to learn so uncilized a country where more than half is population smoke and drink too much is not possible for them to move to a civilization soon,

by: JMikeR from: Tennessee United States
June 07, 2014 2:18 PM
This new president seems to be making all the right moves. I am encouraged by this article. I wish the leaders of the insurgency could see that they cannot win.
In Response

by: RJRolsen from: Washington DC
June 09, 2014 10:00 AM
What exactly is he doing right? Bombing a Ukrainian City? Artillery into a hospital? Refusal to recognize Russian as an official language? Refusal to allow people to elect their own governors?

The government in Kiev has screwed up in every possible. Do you really think the people of Ukraine want the austerity plan that Kiev is planning to unleash? Cutting pensions from $164 to $*2 a month is moronic. The Government in Kiev has not done anything to unify Ukraine and has only sunk the economy more, and the IMF "plan" will do nothing to fix the problems with the Ukrainian economy.

by: meanbill from: USA
June 07, 2014 12:29 PM
THE TRUTH? -- Nothing has changed, in what he and the ex-coup leader said -- (BUT?) -- he did say it a little differently?
Ho Chi Minh told America; "If you want to fight a war for (40) years or more, we'll fight a war for (40) years or more, but if you want to sit down together and drink tea, we'll sit down together and drink tea" .. and NEGOTIATE?

by: MOD from: china
June 07, 2014 11:53 AM
eh...funny unrealistic thoughts....
Comments page of 2
    Next 

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
New Brain Mapping Techniques Could Ease Chronic Paini
X
Shelley Schlender
April 20, 2015 7:03 PM
Pain has a purpose - it can stop you from touching a flame or from walking on a broken leg. As an injury heals, the pain goes away. Usually. But worldwide, one out of every five people suffers from pain that lasts for months and years, leading to lost jobs, depression, and rising despair when medical interventions fail or health experts hint that a pain sufferer is making it up. From Boulder, Colorado, Shelley Schlender reports that new methods for mapping pain in the brain are providing validation for chronic pain and might someday guide better treatment.
Video

Video New Brain Mapping Techniques Could Ease Chronic Pain

From Boulder, Colorado, Shelley Schlender reports that new methods for mapping pain in the brain are providing validation for chronic pain and might someday guide better treatment.
Video

Video Hope, Prayer Enter Fight Against S. Africa Xenophobia

South Africa has been swept by disturbing attacks on foreign nationals. Some blame the attacks on a legacy of colonialism, while others say the economy is to blame. Whatever the cause, ordinary South Africans - and South African residents from around the world - say they're praying for the siege of violence to end. Anita Powell reports from Johannesburg.
Video

Video Italy Rescues Migrants After Separate Deadly Capsize Incident

Italy continued its massive search and rescue operation in the Mediterranean Monday for the capsized boat off the coast of Libya that was carrying hundreds of migrants, while at the same time rescuing Syrian migrants from another vessel off the coast of Sicily. Thirteen children were among the 98 Syrian migrants whose boat originated from Turkey on the perilous journey to Europe.
Video

Video New Test Set to Be Game Changer in Eradicating Malaria

The World Health Organization estimates 3.4 billion people are at risk of malaria, with children under the age of five and pregnant women being the most vulnerable. As World Malaria Day approaches (April 25), mortality rates are falling, and a new test -- well into the last stage of trials -- is having positive results in Kenya. Lenny Ruvaga reports for VOA from Nairobi.
Video

Video Are Energy Needs Putting Thailand's Natural Beauty at Risk?

Thailand's appetite for more electricity has led to the construction of new dams along the Mekong River to the north and new coal plants near the country's famous beaches in the south. A proposed coal plant in a so-called "green zone" has touched off a debate. VOA's Steve Sandford reports.
Video

Video Overwhelmed by Migrants, Italy Mulls Military Action to Stabilize Libya

Thousands more migrants have arrived on the southern shores of Italy from North Africa in the past two days. Authorities say they expect the total number of arrivals this year to far exceed previous levels, and the government has said military action in Libya might be necessary to stem the flow. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Putin Accuses Kyiv of ‘Cutting Off’ Eastern Ukraine

Russian President Vladimir Putin, in his annual televised call-in program, again denied there were any Russian troops fighting in Ukraine. He also said the West was trying to ‘contain’ Russia with sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports on reactions to the president’s four-hour TV appearance.
Video

Video Eye Contact Secures Dog's Place in Human Heart

Dogs serve in the military, work with police and assist the disabled, and have been by our side for thousands of years serving as companions and loyal friends. We love them. They love us in return. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports on a new study that looks at the bio-chemical bond that cements that human-canine connection.
Video

Video Ukrainian Volunteers Search for Bodies of Missing Soldiers

As the cease-fire becomes more fragile in eastern Ukraine, a team of volunteer body collectors travels to the small village of Savur Mohyla in the what pro-Russian separatists call the Donetsk Peoples Republic - to retrieve bodies of fallen Ukrainian servicemen from rebel-held territories. Adam Bailes traveled with the team and has this report.
Video

Video Xenophobic Violence Sweeps South Africa

South Africa, long a haven for African immigrants, has been experiencing the worst xenophobic violence in years, with at least five people killed and hundreds displaced in recent weeks. From Johannesburg, VOA’s Anita Powell brings us this report.
Video

Video Apollo 13, NASA's 'Successful Failure,' Remembered

The Apollo 13 mission in 1970 was supposed to be NASA's third manned trip to the moon, but it became much more. On the flight's 45th anniversary, astronauts and flight directors gathered at Chicago's Adler Planetarium to talk about how the aborted mission changed manned spaceflight and continues to influence space exploration today. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports.
Video

Video Badly Burned Ukrainian Boy Bravely Fights Back

A 9-year-old Ukrainian boy has returned to his native country after intensive treatment in the United States for life-threatening burns. Volodia Bubela, burned in a house fire almost a year ago, battled back at a Boston hospital, impressing doctors with his bravery. Faith Lapidus narrates this report from VOA's Tetiana Kharchenko.
Video

Video US Maternity Leave Benefits Much Less Than Many Countries

It was almost 20 years ago that representatives of 189 countries met at a UN conference in Beijing and adopted a plan of action to achieve gender equality around the world. Now, two decades later, the University of California Los Angeles World Policy Analysis Center has issued a report examining what the Beijing Platform for Action has achieved. From Los Angeles, Elizabeth Lee has more.
Video

Video Endangered Hawaiian Birds Get Second Chance

Of the world's nearly 9,900 bird species, 13 percent are threatened with extinction, according to BirdLife International. Among them are two Hawaiian honeycreepers - tiny birds that live in the forest canopy, and, as the name implies, survive on nectar from tropical flowers. Scientists at the San Diego Zoo report they have managed to hatch half a dozen of their chicks in captivity, raising hopes that the birds will flutter back from the brink of extinction. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Exhibit Brings Renaissance Master Out of the Shadows

The National Gallery of Art in Washington has raised the curtain on one of the most intriguing painters of the High Renaissance. Mostly ignored after his death in the early 1500s, Italian master Piero di Cosimo is now claiming his place alongside the best-known artists of the period. VOA’s Ardita Dunellari reports.

VOA Blogs