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Obama meets with Ukraine's Poroshenko

The meeting was seen as a show of support for the Ukrainian leader.
By Ed Adamczyk   |   June 4, 2014 at 10:35 AM   |   Comments

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WARSAW, Poland, June 4 (UPI) -- President Barack Obama's 70-minute discussion Wednesday with Ukrainian President-elect Petro Poroshenko in Warsaw, Poland, yielded a promise to provide non-lethal military aid to Ukraine.

After the meeting -- the first between the two men -- Obama said, "I have been deeply impressed by his vision. The United States is absolutely committed to standing behind the Ukrainian people, not just in the coming days and weeks but in the coming years."

Obama also announced that $5 million in night-vision goggles, body armor and telecommunications equipment for the Ukrainian military would be delivered. He is on a four-day trip to Europe, and Warsaw was his first stop.

Poroshenko was elected Ukrainian president on May 25, and will be inaugurated on June 7.

American officials have emerged from their first dealings with Poroshenko -- a billionaire committed to integrating Ukraine into Europe and away from the Russian sphere of influence -- hopeful he can overhaul a corrupt and dysfunctional political system. He has also dealt with Russian President Vladimir Putin, who has said Russia would recognize the outcome of the vote that installed Poroshenko in the presidency.

The U.S. has made it clear that helping make Ukraine stronger economically, and helping curtail its reliance on Russia for energy, is the best way to ensure its success.

Poroshenko was seen talking at length Tuesday evening with U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry at a banquet sponsored by the Polish government in Obama's honor. Kerry and Poroshenko spoke again on Wednesday, before Kerry traveled to Paris for meetings with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov.

Meanwhile, U.S. Vice President Joe Biden is expected to attend Poroshenko's inauguration.

Follow @adamczyk_ed and @UPI on Twitter.
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