Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko is expected to press for further military and economic assistance during his visit to the United States, where he is scheduled to meet President Barack Obama on Thursday and address a joint session of Congress on Friday, according to media reports.
Poroshenko’s visit comes just two days after the Ukrainian parliament ratified a political and economic association deal with the European Union, and signed a bill granting autonomy to the rebel-held regions of Donetsk and Luhansk in eastern Ukraine.
“There is a sense, and I have to be honest about it, in the Ukrainian public and Ukrainian society that both the US and the EU are not doing enough to support the Ukrainian case,” Ukraine’s Foreign Minister Pavlo Klimkin had reportedly said Tuesday, before accompanying Poroshenko for a three-day North American tour, adding that he was hopeful that Ukraine will be offered more aid by the White House to counter “Russian aggression.”
The U.S. has already provided $60 million worth of aid to Ukraine, including food rations, body armor and communications equipment, The Washington Post reported. The International Monetary Fund, or IMF, has also pledged $17 billion in loans to stabilize the country’s floundering economy.
Kiev, however, has reportedly been asking for advanced military technology, including communications devices, surface-to-air missiles and ammunition, which the U.S. has so far refused to provide.
Poroshenko, on Wednesday, during his visit to Canada, made similar requests and called for additional aid in the form of loans, investments in the energy sector and deployment of Canadian troops in eastern Ukraine, in addition to seeking advanced military equipment, CBC News reported.
Meanwhile, fighting between Ukrainian government forces and pro-Moscow rebels continued in Donetsk on Wednesday. Two civilians were reportedly killed in shelling near the Donetsk airport, disrupting a two-week-old fragile cease-fire in the region.