Poroshenko defiant on Russia as Putin orders border control

June 7, 2014 5:14 PM

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Ukraine's new president Petro Poroshenko said his country would never give up Crimea and would not compromise on its course towards closer ties with Europe, spelling out a combative and defiant message to Russia in his inaugural speech on Saturday. The 48-year-old billionaire took the oath of office before parliament, buoyed by Western support but facing an immediate crisis in relations with Russia as a separatist uprising seethes in the east of his country, Reuters reported. Russia annexed the Crimean peninsula in March, weeks after street protests ousted Poroshenko's pro-Moscow predecessor, Viktor Yanukovych, in a move that has provoked the deepest crisis in relations with the West since the Cold War. "Citizens of Ukraine will never enjoy the beauty of peace unless we settle our relations with Russia. Russia occupied Crimea, which was, is, and will be Ukrainian soil," Poroshenko said in a speech that drew a standing ovation. He had told this to Russia's Vladimir Putin when the two met on Friday at a World War Two anniversary ceremony in France, he said. Poroshenko, who earned his fortune as a confectionery entrepreneur and is known locally as the "Chocolate King", said he intended very soon to sign the economic part of an association agreement with the European Union, as a first step towards full membership. This idea is anathema to Moscow, which wants to keep Ukraine in its own post-Soviet sphere of influence.

Moscow demands release of journalists Russia's Foreign Ministry also called on new Ukrainian president Petro Poroshenko Saturday to act by "the principles of a democratic society" and release two Russian journalists detained in the east of the country. In Russia's first official statement after ...

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