Ukraine President Visits North America


While Ukraine is engaged with Russia in a violent struggle for freedom, President Petro Poroshenko arrived in North America and visited Parliament Hill in Canada on Wednesday to a welcome worthy of a hero’s return from war. Poroshenko thanked Canada for the support they have given to the former Soviet state and vowed that the Ukrainian people would win this violent struggle.

Poroshenko stated that while the Ukrainian people have strengthened their ties with Europe, the battle with Russia for the country’s freedom has been a bloody one. However, an agreement ratified with the European Union Tuesday will strengthen the Ukrainian economy and was a historic day for the Eastern European country. It was Ukraine’s final good-bye to the former Soviet Union on its way towards independence.

Earlier in the year, Crimea was annexed by Russia, which was the early catalyst towards that led to the current conflict. NATO indicated that thousands of Russian soldiers have crossed into Ukraine and are fighting alongside the pro-Russian separatists. Although a ceasefire is in place, and appears to be holding back hostilities, Poroshenko indicated that during the conflict, the Ukrainian people have paid a high price for freedom.

According to Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper stated that the Ukraine and their sovereignty is recognized by Canada. If 50 years should pass before independence from Russia is won, a Russian occupation of Ukraine will never be recognized and considered illegal. Harper went on to say that Putin’s actions toward Ukraine are a threat to the security of the entire world.

In a show of support for the Ukrainian people, a day earlier, Canada’s Ottawa province promised to send 300 election monitors to help with this falls parliamentary elections. This was on top of more sanctions leveled on Russia by Canada.

After spending a few days in Canada, Poroshenko continued his North American visit and traveled south to the United States where Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) invited the Ukrainian President to address the U.S. Congress. much like he did in Canada, Poroshenko thanked the members of Congress for the continued support against Putin’s aggression against Ukraine.

Poroshenko told the members of Congress that the was not just Ukraine’s war. It was also Europe’s war and America’s war. The Ukrainian President called it a war for a free world. During his address, Poroshenko was interrupted by Congress repeatedly with standing ovations, similar to the group’s response to U.S. Presidential State of the Union addresses.

While the U.S. has supported Ukraine in their struggle for freedom, which Poroshenko did thank the American Government for, the Ukrainian President asked for more help. Boehner responded by saying that American leadership should act and send military assistance to Ukraine and impose tougher sanctions to help break Russia’s energy stranglehold on the region.

The Canadian government, along with their North American neighbors, have already sent support to the Ukrainian people before the presidential visit. Canada had imposed sanctions on Russia and now have sent a warship and Canadian fighter jets to the area in the hope of stopping, or at least preventing Russia from making any further moves. $3 million will also go to Ukraine from Canada to assist the countries people who have been affected by the conflict.

By Carl Auer

The Star
The Globe and Mail
The Wire

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