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

Will Cuba Follow the Southeast Asia Model?

Decision to restore ties between US and Cuba has some debating whether it will lead to enhancement or regression of democracy for Communist island nation More

Kenyan Designer Finds Her Niche in Fashion Industry

‘Made in China’ fabrics underlie her success More

Report: CIA, Israel's Mossad Killed Senior Hezbollah Commander

The Washington Post story says Imad Mughniyah was killed instantly by a bomb "triggered remotely" from Tel Aviv by Mossad agents 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.
Jefferson's Library Continues to Impress, 200 Years Lateri
X
Deborah Block
January 31, 2015 12:12 AM
Two hundred years after the U.S. Congress purchased a huge collection of books belonging to former President Thomas Jefferson, it remains one of America’s greatest literal treasures and has become the centerpiece of Washington’s Library of Congress. VOA’s Deborah Block reports.
Video

Video Jefferson's Library Continues to Impress, 200 Years Later

Two hundred years after the U.S. Congress purchased a huge collection of books belonging to former President Thomas Jefferson, it remains one of America’s greatest literal treasures and has become the centerpiece of Washington’s Library of Congress. VOA’s Deborah Block reports.
Video

Video Egypt's Suez Canal Dreams Tempered by Continued Unrest

Egypt plans to expand the Suez Canal, raising hopes that the end of its economic crisis may be in sight. But some analysts say they expect the project may cost too much and take too long to make life better for everyday Egyptians. VOA's Heather Murdock reports.
Video

Video Threat of Creeping Lava Has Hawaiians on Edge

Residents of the small town of Pahoa on the Big Island of Hawaii face an advancing threat from the Kilauea volcano. Local residents are keeping a watchful eye on creeping lava. Mike O’Sullivan reports.
Video

Video Pro-Kremlin Youth Group Creatively Promotes 'Patriotic' Propaganda

As Russia's President Vladimir Putin faces international pressure over Ukraine and a failing economy, unofficial domestic groups are rallying to his support. One such youth organization, CET, or Network, uses creative multimedia to appeal to Russia's urban youth with patriotic propaganda. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports.
Video

Video Filmmakers Produce Hand-Painted Documentary on Van Gogh

The troubled life of the famous 19th century Dutch painter Vincent van Gogh has been told through many books and films, but never in the way a group of filmmakers now intends to do. "Loving Vincent " will be the first ever feature-length film made of animated hand-painted images, done in the style of the late artist. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Issues or Ethnicity? Question Divides Nigeria

As Nigeria goes to the polls next month, many expect the two top presidential contenders to gain much of their support from constituencies organized along ethnic or religious lines. But are faith and regional blocs really what political power in Nigeria is about? Chris Stein reports.
Video

Video Rock-Consuming Organisms Alter Views of Life Processes

Scientists thought they knew much about how life works, until a discovery more than two decades ago challenged conventional beliefs. Scientists found that there are organisms that breathe rocks. And it is only recently that the scientific community is accepting that there are organisms that could get energy out of rocks. Correspondent Elizabeth Lee reports.
Video

Video Paris Attacks Highlight Global Weapons Black Market

As law enforcement officials piece together how the Paris and Belgian terror cells carried out their recent attacks, questions are being asked about how they obtained military grade assault weapons - which are illegal in the European Union. As VOA's Jeff Swicord reports, experts say there is a very active worldwide black market for these weapons, and criminals and terrorists are buying.
Video

Video Activists Accuse China of Targeting Religious Freedom

The U.S.-based Chinese religious rights group ChinaAid says 2014 was the worst year for religious freedom in China since the end of the Cultural Revolution. As Ye Fan reports, activists say Beijing has been tightening religious controls ever since Chinese leader Xi Jinping came to office. Hu Wei narrates.
Video

Video Theologians Cast Doubt on Morality of Drone Strikes

In 2006, stirred by photos of U.S. soldiers mistreating Iraqi prisoners, a group of American faith leaders and academics launched the National Religious Campaign Against Torture. It played an important role in getting Congress to investigate, and the president to ban, torture. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Former Sudan 'Lost Boy' Becomes Chess Master in NYC

In the mid-1980’s, thousands of Sudanese boys escaped the country's civil war by walking for weeks, then months and finally for more than a year, up to 1,500 kilometers across three countries. The so-called Lost Boys of the Sudan had little time for games. But one of them later mastered the game of chess, and now teaches it to children in the New York area. VOA’s Bernard Shusman in New York has his story.
Video

Video NASA Monitors Earth’s Vital Signs From Space

The U.S. space agency, NASA, is wrapping up its busiest 12-month period in more than a decade, with three missions launched in 2014 and two this month, one in early January and the fifth scheduled for January 29. As VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports, the instruments being lifted into orbit are focused on Earth’s vital life support systems and how they are responding to a warmer planet.

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More

All About America

AppleAndroid