On the 25th anniversary of free elections in Poland, President Barack Obama spoke in support of Ukraine and called on world leaders to help the fledgling government establish economic stability, calm violence, and stave off Russian threats.
The president announced another package of non-lethal military aid for the nation, including things like equipment like body armor and night vision goggles and training, which will bring the amount of the defensive security assistance sent from the U.S. to Ukraine to $23 million since early March, according to the White House.
“The United States is absolutely committed to standing behind the Ukrainian people, not just in the coming days and weeks but in the coming years,” Obama said following his first in-person meeting with Ukraine’s President-elect Petro Poroshenko, according to USA Today.
The president’s administration has so far shied away from calls to send weapons to the region and stressed their commitment to reaching a diplomatic solution to Russia’s threats on the region, following the annexation of Crimea and their support of pro-Russian rebels in the eastern part of the country. They have issued a series of sanctions against Russia for their actions.
“Ukraine has gone through a very challenging time,” Obama said. “And what we have seen has been an incredible outpouring of democracy in the face of actions by Russia as well as armed militias in certain portions of the east who violate international law and international sovereignty.”
Both leaders are in Warsaw to celebrate the 25th anniversary of Freedom Day, which mark free elections in the country.
Obama praised the president-elect, who will be sworn into office this weekend. “I have been deeply impressed by his vision,” Obama said, “partly because of his experience as a businessman.”
Poroshenko thanked Obama in his remarks, for “crucially important” and “continuous” support.