KIEV/DONETSK, Ukraine (Reuters) – Ukraine launched air strikes and a paratrooper assault against pro-Russian rebels who seized an airport on Monday, as its newly elected leader rejected any talks with “terrorists” and said a robust military campaign in the east should be able to put down a separatist revolt in “a matter of hours”.
Ukrainians rallied overwhelmingly in Sunday’s election behind Petro Poroshenko, a political veteran and billionaire owner of chocolate factories, hoping the burly 48-year-old can rescue the nation from the brink of bankruptcy, civil war and dismemberment by its former Soviet masters in the Kremlin.
KIEV, May 26 (Reuters) – Petro Poroshenko does a fair
impression of a man with all the time in the world, bantering
with reporters in a fluent medley of languages on his first
morning as Ukraine’s president-elect.
But the chunky, billionaire-issue wristwatch flashing from
his well-tailored cuff marks out a man in a hurry; his smooth
patter on creating wealth, fighting corruption and embracing
European values cracked when pressed on how he can recover
Crimea from Russia or defeat pro-Moscow rebels in the east.
KIEV, May 26 (Reuters) – Ukraine’s next president pledged on Monday to restore control over the separatist east with a more effective military operation, and said he would meet Russian officials in a matter of weeks to secure their help in resolving the crisis.
Moscow said it was ready for dialogue with Petro Poroshenko but he should scale back his armed forces’ campaign in the east, where pro-Moscow gunmen have declared independence in two provinces.
KIEV (Reuters) – Petro Poroshenko, a billionaire chocolate manufacturer, claimed the Ukrainian presidency with an emphatic election victory on Sunday, taking on a fraught mission to quell pro-Russian rebels and steer his fragile nation closer to the West.
A veteran survivor of Ukraine’s feuding political class who threw his weight and money behind the revolt that brought down his Moscow-backed predecessor three months ago, the burly 48-year-old won more than 50 percent in preliminary results, against just 13 percent for his closest challenger.