WARSAW — The election of billionaire businessman and politician Petro Poroshenko as president was a “wise selection” for Ukraine, US President Barack Obama said Wednesday after a meeting with the Ukrainian president-elect in Warsaw.
Obama said Washington’s possible participation in training of Ukrainian law enforcers and military, measures to restore peace in Ukraine, prospects for its economic development as well as ways to cut Kiev’s dependence on Russian gas supplies have been discussed at the meeting.
The US leader stressed that the G7 summit on June 4-5 in Brussels will be important to demonstrate that Poroshenko is supported by the international community.
Poroshenko, elected on May 25, earlier told media he had provided assistance to Euromaidan protesters in Kiev.
“Euromaidan” is a collective name for anti-government protests in Ukraine that started when President Viktor Yanukovich refused to sign an association agreement with the European Union in November last year to study the deal more thoroughly.
The refusal triggered protests that often turned violent and resulted in a coup in February. The new authorities set early presidential elections for May 25.
Crimea refused to recognize the legitimacy of the coup-imposed authorities in Kiev and seceded from Ukraine to reunify with Russia in mid-March.
Some Russian and Crimean officials and companies have been subjected to sanctions by Western nations, including visa bans and asset freezes after Crimea’s incorporation by Russia. Russia has dismissed the threats of further penalties, including economic ones, against it, saying the language of punitive measures is counterproductive and will have a boomerang effect on Western countries.
In the Soviet Union, Crimea used to be part of Russia until 1954, when it was gifted to Ukraine by Soviet Communist Party leader Nikita Khrushchev.
A regular summit of the Group of Eight (G8) industrialized nations was due to be held in Russia’s Black Sea resort of Sochi in June, but member countries except Russia (G7) decided in March that the summit will not be held in Sochi but in Brussels instead. The move came as the West’s response to Russia’s position on events in Ukraine.