In an inflammatory statement to the BBC yesterday, Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko declared that his regime, which enjoys political and military support from Washington and the European Union (EU), is at war with Russia.
“Can I be absolutely clear with you, this is not a fight with Russian-backed separatists, this is a real war with Russia,” Poroshenko said. He added that he expected renewed fighting in regions of east Ukraine held by pro-Russian separatist forces in the coming days.
Poroshenko dismissed speculation that, after US Secretary of State John Kerry’s trip to Moscow last week, relations between Washington and the Kremlin might improve, and that the US government might therefore limit its support to his regime in Kiev.
“Immediately before Secretary Kerry went to Moscow, he called me from his plane and explained to me every tiny detail what they would discuss in Moscow about Ukraine. So I trust and I don’t have any suspicions that Ukraine will be traded in the relationship between Russia and the United States,” he said.
Instead, Poroshenko appealed to the European powers to build up Ukraine’s armed forces and defense industry as an advance guard aimed at Russia. The goal, he said, is “to build up a very pro-European army, here, in the east, to defend not only our sovereignty, not only our territorial integrity, or our independence, but to defend freedom, to defend democracy, to defend European values, because we are fighting now for that.”