Ukraine leader mocks Russia’s call for anti-terrorism coalition
Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko on Tuesday derided Russia's call for the creation of an international antiterrorism coalition, saying the Russians inspire terrorism on their own doorstep and back bellicose puppet governments.
Russian President Putin on Monday called for the creation of a broad international coalition to fight Islamic State and other militant extremist groups.
Poroshenko used his speech at the annual gathering of world leaders for the United Nations General Assembly to blast Russia and suggest its call for global action against terrorist threats was hypocritical.
“Over the last few days we have heard conciliatory statements form the Russian side,” he told the 193-nation assembly. “Cool story, but really hard to believe. How can you urge an antiterrorist coalition if you inspire terrorism right in front of your door?
“How can you talk about peace and legitimacy if your policy is war via puppet governments?” he added. “The Gospel of John teaches us, 'In the beginning was the word.' But what kind of a gospel do you bring to the world if all your words are double-tongued like that?”
He referred to the fact that Russia is accelerating military support to the government of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, which has been locked in a civil war with rebel forces seeking to oust Assad for 4-1/2 years.
“These days the Russian 'men in green' tread on Syrian land,” he said. “What or who is next?”
Poroshenko renewed accusations that Russia finances, trains and supplies pro-Russian separatists in Ukraine, while sending heavy weapons and Russian troops, with insignias removed from their uniforms, to help battle Ukrainian forces loyal to the Kiev government.
Speaking later at Columbia University, Poroshenko called on countries that support Kiev to help his government secure modern weapons to defend itself.
Moscow denies the allegations and accuses the United States of having orchestrated the ouster of Ukraine's former pro-Kremlin president early last year.
“For over 20 months, Russia's aggression against my country has been continuing through financing of terrorists and mercenaries, and supplies of arms and military equipment to the illegal armed groups,” Poroshenko told the General Assembly.
All but one member of Russia's delegation left the assembly hall while Poroshenko spoke. The full delegation returned after he finished his speech.
The United States and European Union support the Kiev government and have imposed economic sanctions on Russia for its annexation of Crimea and support for separatists in eastern Ukraine.
Poroshenko said that if Russia does not implement the Minsk peace deal reached last year, under which both sides were to hold fire and withdraw heavy weapons, international sanctions of Moscow should remain in place.
Poroshenko and Putin will meet with the leaders of France and Germany in Paris on Friday to discuss the fragile Minsk ceasefire agreement.
A representative of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) said earlier that Ukraine and the separatists have now agreed, in talks in Minsk, Belarus, to extend a pullback of weapons in east Ukraine to include tanks and smaller weapons systems.