Petro Poroshenko to US Congress: “Ukraine like Israel has a right to defend itself…”
Published time: September 22, 2014 11:29
Ukraine President Petro Poroshenko addresses a joint meeting of Congress in the U.S. Capitol in Washington, September 18, 2014. (Reuters/Kevin Lamarque)
Moscow is bewildered by Washington’s warmongering rhetoric, which accompanied President Petro Poroshenko’s visit to the US. Russia has also noted all the Russia-unfriendly opinions voiced recently by hawkish American politicians.
“We’ll keep in mind all signals, including those unfriendly towards Russia, that were heard during the visit of the Ukrainian president to Washington,” commented Russia’s Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Ryabkov. “We do regret that there are quite influential circles [within the American establishment] that are unambiguously working against the emerging stabilization [in Ukraine],” Ryabkov said.
In short, US senators urged to supply Ukraine with arms to fight against Russia and President Putin.
Senator Robert Mendez, a Democrat who runs the Foreign Relations Committee told CNN, “We should provide the Ukrainians with the type of defensive weapons that will impose a cost upon Putin for further aggression.
“This is no longer the question of some rebel separatists. This is a direct invasion by Russia. We must recognize it as that,” he said.
In turn, Senator John McCain told CBS’s Face the Nation that President Putin was “an old KGB colonel that wants to restore the Russian Empire.”
The chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, Senator Mike Rogers, told Fox News, “If we don’t provide ‘small and effective’ now, you’re going to get ‘very big and very ugly’ later.”
The Russian politician pointed out that peaceful initiatives agreed upon in Minsk by the Contact Group on Ukraine are at odds with statements made during President Poroshenko’s visit to the US.
“It strengthens us in the opinion that the so-called party of war is strong not only in Kiev,” Ryabkov said, adding that some high-ranking American officials and politicians are willfully ignoring any positive outlook for resolving the crisis in Ukraine.
“They are hypocritically advocating normalization of the situation, while actually impeding this process,” Ryabkov said.
‘We’ve got everything we need’ – Poroshenko
In interviews to national US TV channels, President Poroshenko said the American president had verbally confirmed that Ukraine now enjoys the “uppermost status” among US military partner states, which are not NATO members.
Poroshenko said that the non-lethal supplies promised by the US and other states are sufficient and would help to restore the Ukrainian army to battle-ready status.
“We will receive and have already received everything we need: surveillance, radar, and supervisory and other defensive equipment that will increase the effectiveness of our weapons and help modernize them,” Poroshenko said, adding that non-lethal equipment will come “not only from the US.”
Earlier this year Ukraine received, from various sources, body armor, helmets, army rations, radio sets, uniforms, barbed wire and other supplies.
President Poroshenko officially confirmed the Ukrainian army’s heavy losses in its military operations in the east of the country. He added that up to 65 percent of hardware in the field had been either lost or destroyed in battle, a situation the president said was changing.
Destroyed Ukrainian military equipment in the village of Novoyekaterinovka near Komsomolsk. (RIA Novosti/Gennady Dubovoy)
The troops are receiving more military hardware on a daily basis, while non-lethal equipment is arriving from abroad; Ukraine has enough lethal weapons in stock.
“We haven’t received machine-guns (from abroad) because we have them, as well as tanks, multiple rocket launchers, missiles, artillery and that helps us to hold the frontline,” Ukraine’s president said.
President Barack Obama declined to supply Ukraine with “lethal aid” despite the passionate plea for more military equipment made by Poroshenko in the US Congress. Ukraine was also not granted special security and defense status, which is the highest level of US interaction with a non-NATO ally.
Although President Poroshenko elicited applause from the US Congress, the financial help proposed by Washington is on the slender side: Ukraine will get $1 billion in ‘Financial Guarantees’ from the US and a general military aid package worth $53 million, RIA reported.
Also, the US Senate introduced a bill authorizing the Obama administration to supply $350 million worth of sophisticated weapons technology to Kiev in the fiscal year of 2015.
The Ukrainian president was bullish when he returned home, maintaining to the nation that his visit overseas had been a complete success.
Poroshenko stated he had reached a deal with President Obama whereby Washington would more actively participate in the contact between Ukraine and Russia, particularly with President Vladimir Putin. Without this contact with the Russian authorities “there wouldn’t be the ceasefire we currently have,” he said.
June 6, 2014. President Vladimir Putin (left) and Ukrainian President-Elect Petro Poroshenko (RIA Novosti/Sergey Guneev)
At the same time, Putin’s spokesperson Dmitry Peskov specifically stressed that although the Russian president did exchange opinions on measures to achieve peace in Ukraine, Putin could not negotiate any ceasefire agreement in the neighboring country.
“Russia physically cannot negotiate a ceasefire agreement because it is not a part of the conflict (in Ukraine),” Peskov said in early September.
The Ukrainian president rejected the idea that the rebellious Donetsk and Lugansk regions could get special status within the country, saying that “no territory in Ukraine would have an influence on the country’s international or domestic policies, or be able to pose a threat to country’s sovereignty and territorial integrity.”
President Poroshenko firmly advocates a multilateral approach to settling the crisis in Ukraine and intends to engage more parties to negotiate the problem on an international level.
“This conflict should not appear to be solely a Ukrainian problem. We’re going to engage the whole world in this process,” he said.