- The Washington Times - Thursday, September 18, 2014

Ukraine’s president made a last-ditch plea for lethal weaponry during an award ceremony in Washington on Thursday evening.

Petro Poroshenko, the country’s newly elected leader, said that he has been pressuring the U.S. to provide Ukraine with weaponry because he is concerned that Kiev may not have the means to defend itself against Moscow in future wars.

“The weapons do not help us to win this war,” he said. “The weapons help us to win next war. And that is what we need to build up very … effective Ukrainian army. Because when I become president, we don’t have an army at all.”

Mr. Poroshenko made the comments at an evening award ceremony at The Atlantic Council in Washington.

Over the past several months, Mr. Poroshenko has continuously asked the Obama administration for military supplies capable of beating back pro-Russia separatists who are waging a war in eastern Ukraine and of staving off the occasional Russian military incursion into Ukrainian territory.

Ukraine’s “army is facing an attack from one of the biggest military power in the world,” Mr. Poroshenko said at the Atlantic Council, while acknowledging that this fact may not be enough for Ukraine to conjure the level of support that it need.

So far, the Obama administration has resisted Kiev’s request for heavy weaponry.

Nevertheless, Mr. Poroshenko is working with President Obama to get what he can. Thursday’s meeting between the two in Washington produced a new, $53 million support package, which will provide support to international relief organizations and security assistance to Ukrainian security forces.

Still, when the Ukrainian president and Mr. Obama met behind closed doors Thursday and had a “friendly conversation” about their future relationship, Mr. Poroshenko was insistent that Ukraine needed additional support.

“This is actually what we talk today — to the president — about,” he said at The Atlantic Council. “I need assistance from the United States. Not only money or weapons. We need very effective cooperation.”

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