Ukraine should rely on own might to counter Russia: Poroshenko
Iran Press TV
Wed Aug 24, 2016 5:53PM
Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko has underlined the need for Kiev to stand on its own feet rather than relying on Western support as it copes with resurging conflict in its eastern region.
Striking a martial tone in his Independence Day speech on Wednesday, Poroshenko said that Ukrainian armed forces should serve as the main guarantor and protector of the country in the face of threats.
"From this parade, our international partners will get the message that Ukraine is able to protect itself, but needs further support," Poroshenko said, while addressing a large crowd of civilians and military personnel in Kiev.
The remarks came as various army, navy and air force units marched in the ceremony in bid to highlight the capability of Ukraine's military.
More than 9,500 people have been killed in the violence which erupted in 2014 and subsided in February 2015 when a truce deal was reached in the Belorussian capital of Minsk. Ukraine and its Western backers blame the conflict on Russia, but Moscow denies any involvement.
Poroshenko said that international pressure on Russia must remain until Moscow implements the Minsk agreements, saying that it would take more time and money for Ukraine to fully protect itself from what he described as Russia's "imperial ambitions."
"We need years and tens of billions of hryvnias until we can sleep soundly," he said, referring to Ukraine's currency.
Ukraine has faced diminishing military and financial support from the Western countries over the past year as the United States and governments in Europe say they are not satisfied with the degree of progress Kiev has made in reforming its economy and getting rid of the vested interests that existed before 2014, when a Russian-backed leadership was in power.
Kiev is locked in tension with Moscow over the Crimean Peninsula, a territory in the Black Sea, which rejoined Russia after a referendum in 2014. Moscow said earlier this month that Ukrainian army was trying to provoke a new conflict over Crimea.
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