Ukraine President-Elect Petro Poroshenko Demands End to Conflict Even as Violence Erupts

Will 'Chocolate King' Win Battle With Russian Separatists?

getty images

By Reuters

Published May 26, 2014.
  • Print
  • Share Share

Ukraine’s next president, Petro Poroshenko, said on Monday he would not negotiate with armed separatists in the Russian-speaking east of his country but was open to dialog with people there with grievances, provided they rejected violence.

Armed pro-Russian separatists have taken control of some towns and cities in eastern Ukraine, which includes the Donbass coalfield, and prevented people there from voting in Sunday’s presidential election from which Poroshenko has emerged as the resounding victor.

“They want to preserve a bandit state which is held in place by force of arms … These are simply bandits. Nobody in any civilized state will hold negotiations with terrorists,” Poroshenko told a news conference.

“Protecting people is one of the functions of the state,” said Poroshenko, 48, a confectionary magnate with broad government experience, adding that he supported the continuation of Ukraine’s “anti-terrorist operation” in the region.

The separatists have declared autonomous “people’s republics” in eastern Ukraine after two makeshift referendums and say Kiev’s authority is no longer valid there.

Questioned repeatedly about how he would bring peace to the east, where scores have been killed in clashes involving the Ukrainian army, Ukrainian militias and pro-Russian separatists, Poroshenko said Kiev would address genuine grievances and provide assurances on people’s rights there, including the use of the Russian language.

“A dialog with all residents of the Donbass would be effective,” Poroshenko said.


Russia has expressed sympathy for the separatists, who it says are trying to defend the rights and liberties of the region’s Russian-speaking majority, but it denies arming or training the rebels.

Poroshenko said he hoped to meet Russian leaders in the first half of June, adding that restoring stability in eastern Ukraine would require Moscow’s involvement.

“I hope Russia will support efforts to tackle the situation in the east (of Ukraine),” Poroshenko said.

On the question of Crimea, a Ukrainian region annexed by Moscow in March after a referendum, Poroshenko made clear he would explore all available legal channels to secure the return of the Black Sea peninsula to Kiev’s rule.

“There is no international basis for the annexation of Crimea. With the annexation of Crimea, the entire postwar system of global security was destroyed,” he said.

Poroshenko, who election officials have indicated will probably be inaugurated in mid-June, said he hoped to visit neighboring Poland, a staunch supporter of Ukraine’s hopes of moving closer to the European Union, on June 4.

The Jewish Daily Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Jewish Daily Forwardrequires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and The Jewish Daily Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.

Find us on Facebook!
  • We try to show things that get less exposed to the public here. We don’t look to document things that are nice or that people would like. We don’t try to show this place as a beautiful place.”
  • A new Gallup poll shows that only 25% of Americans under 35 support the war in #Gaza. Does this statistic worry you?
  • “You will stomp us into the dirt,” is how her mother responded to Anya Ulinich’s new tragicomic graphic novel. Paul Berger has a more open view of ‘Lena Finkle’s Magic Barrel." What do you think?
  • PHOTOS: Hundreds of protesters marched through lower Manhattan yesterday demanding an end to American support for Israel’s operation in #Gaza.
  • Does #Hamas have to lose for there to be peace? Read the latest analysis by J.J. Goldberg.
  • This is what the rockets over Israel and Gaza look like from space:
  • "Israel should not let captives languish or corpses rot. It should do everything in its power to recover people and bodies. Jewish law places a premium on pidyon shvuyim, “the redemption of captives,” and proper burial. But not when the price will lead to more death and more kidnappings." Do you agree?
  •'s Allison Benedikt wrote that Taglit-Birthright Israel is partly to blame for the death of American IDF volunteer Max Steinberg. This is why she's wrong:
  • Israeli soldiers want you to buy them socks. And snacks. And backpacks. And underwear. And pizza. So claim dozens of fundraising campaigns launched by American Jewish and Israeli charities since the start of the current wave of crisis and conflict in Israel and Gaza.
  • The sign reads: “Dogs are allowed in this establishment but Zionists are not under any circumstances.”
  • Is Twitter Israel's new worst enemy?
  • More than 50 former Israeli soldiers have refused to serve in the current ground operation in #Gaza.
  • "My wife and I are both half-Jewish. Both of us very much felt and feel American first and Jewish second. We are currently debating whether we should send our daughter to a Jewish pre-K and kindergarten program or to a public one. Pros? Give her a Jewish community and identity that she could build on throughout her life. Cons? Costs a lot of money; She will enter school with the idea that being Jewish makes her different somehow instead of something that you do after or in addition to regular school. Maybe a Shabbat sing-along would be enough?"
  • Undeterred by the conflict, 24 Jews participated in the first ever Jewish National Fund— JDate singles trip to Israel. Translation: Jews age 30 to 45 travelled to Israel to get it on in the sun, with a side of hummus.
  • "It pains and shocks me to say this, but here goes: My father was right all along. He always told me, as I spouted liberal talking points at the Shabbos table and challenged his hawkish views on Israel and the Palestinians to his unending chagrin, that I would one day change my tune." Have you had a similar experience?
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?

We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.