NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen has congratulated the newly elected Ukrainian President, Petro Poroshenko, on his inauguration on Saturday.
Mr. Poroshenko, 45, won the presidential election on May 25. His inauguration brings much needed hope for the restoration of peace and stability in Ukraine after months of internal turmoil has torn the country apart and devastated numerous lives.
In late February, former President Viktor Yanukovych was ousted after months of protests in Ukraine’s capital, Kiev, which resulted in over 100 people dead. An interim president, and government, took over until a democratically elected president was elected.
The new president brings hope of peace not just to the people of Ukraine, but leaders, organizations and officials across Europe and the West.
After months of fighting between the Ukrainian military and independence fighters–also labeled as separatists, pro-Russians, and “terrorists” by Kiev authorities–President Poroshenko has said he has a plan to bring peace.
Mr. Rasmussen welcomed Mr. Poroshenko’s inauguration on Saturday and wished him “success in carrying forward this new position of responsibility at a defining time in Ukraine’s history.
“The presidential elections were an important milestone for Ukraine,” Mr. Rasmussen said. “In holding transparent and democratic elections despite significant challenges, the people of Ukraine showed their commitment to a united, independent and sovereign country.”
During the elections in May, separatists in eastern Donetsk and Luhansk regions disrupted voting. Out of the twelve poling districts in Donetsk, 10 did not take place. In Luhansk, fourteen out of the 22 polling districts did not take place either. Only eight-hundred out of 3,908 polling stations were open.
Reasons for the disruption ranged from fear, to direct threats against voters by separatists.
But despite these problems, the OSCE (Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe) stated that the elections were largely successful. Voting took place normally in other parts of Ukraine, with voting assessed positively in 98% of polling stations independently observed.
Secretary Gen. Rasmussen stated that he is confident that Mr. Poroshenko’s “leadership will contribute to the stabilization of the country, building on the inclusive political dialogue launched ahead of the elections.”
Russian President Vladimir Putin has stated that Moscow will respect the will of the Ukrainian people and work with the newly elected president to help bring peace and stability to Ukraine.
NATO remains committed to supporting Ukraine within the framework of the NATO-Ukraine Commission, Mr. Rasmussen said.
The NATO-Ukraine Commission is a decision-making body that is responsible for developing the NATO-Ukraine relationship. Talks include a number of things such as strengthening defense following the annexation of Crimea by Russian in March.
NATO is finalizing “further comprehensive measures to assist Ukraine and support reforms in the country’s security and defense sector,” Mr. Rasmussen said.
Mr. Ruasmussen concluded his statement with the promise of further support for Ukraine, saying: “Ukraine is a long-standing and active NATO partner, and we look forward to working with President Poroshenko. NATO Allies stand firm in their support for Ukraine’s sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity.”
In other Developments in Ukraine:
- OSCE SMM Observers observed anti-government rallies in Kharkiv and Dnipropetrovsk. Both rallies were small and non-violent.
- Self-declared Chairman of the Supreme Soviet of the Donestk People’s Republic Denis Pushilin survived an attempted assassination on Saturday. A passing car reportedly fired at Mr. Pushilin, who was not hit. His assistant, Maxim Petruhin, was, however, killed.