Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko told the United Nations during a speech Sunday that the war in the east of the country was costing $5 million a day, undermining the country's sustainable development goals. Poroshenko also talked about the difficult plight of the 1.5 million displaced people inside the country who were forced to leave east Ukraine because of the conflict.
"Each day of this war on Donbass cost us about $5 million that we could have invested into sustainable development," Poroshenko said during his U.N. speech, according to a Ukraine Today report. "The crisis with internally displaced persons -- 1.5 million -- is the biggest problem, not only for Ukraine but for the whole region."
Poroshenko also spoke about bringing an end to the conflict by diplomatic means, which have so far been the main source of efforts in high-profile negotiations with France, Germany, Ukraine and Russia. While two ceasefire agreements have been signed since fighting began in April 2014, neither has brought lasting peace. Internal ceasefires organized from region to region by the group charged with overseeing the conflict, the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, have led to some limited success.
After putting an end to the conflict, Poroshenko said the future of Ukraine will be about “establishing peace” and “restoring Ukraine's full serenity over [the] Donbass region in Crimea.”
Poroshenko also named Russia as one of the main aggressors against Ukraine, saying that because of Moscow’s "treacherous" annexation of Ukraine's Crimea and its aggression in the Donbass region “thousands of people have died.” Russian delegates allegedly walked out of the speech, declaring Poroshenko’s speech "overtly politicized and aggressive." One delegate stayed and watched the remainder of the speech, according to Unian, a Ukrainian English language news site.
Poroshenko and other world leaders have accused Russia of assisting rebel groups in the country by providing them with heavy weapons and troops. The war in east Ukraine has seen the deaths of more than 7,000 people since it began more nearly 19 months ago.