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Obama Pledges to Stand by Eastern European Nations

Posted on June 4, 2014. Filed under Intelligence & Security News

WARSAW—President Barack Obama, in a speech marking the 25th anniversary of Poland’s first free elections, reaffirmed U.S. support for Eastern European nations rattled by the prospect of Russian aggression in the region and held up Poland as a model of transition for Ukraine, as he met with the troubled country’s newly elected president for the first time.

He offered a broad message of solidarity to the region, telling a crowd in Warsaw’s Castle Square: “Your freedom is ours.” He also offered a rousing assurance of U.S. and Western support for the security of Eastern European nations.

Mr. Obama announced new, nonlethal U.S. aid for the government in Kiev on Wednesday, including night vision goggles, and threatened Russia with additional sanctions if President Vladimir Putin further destabilizes Ukraine. He also once again stressed the U.S. will never accept Russia’s annexation of the Ukrainian region of Crimea.

“Bigger nations must not be allowed to bully the small,” he said. “Our free nations will stand united so that further Russian provocations will only mean more isolation and costs for Russia.”

Yet as Mr. Obama seeks to show unwavering American military and economic support for Europe during his four-day visit to the continent, the U.S. and European leaders are trying to use Ukraine’s election of Petro Poroshenko as a catalyst for stability and a new dialogue with Mr. Putin.

After his meeting with the new Ukrainian leader, Mr. Obama praised Mr. Poroshenko, who was in Warsaw to attend Wednesday’s ceremony commemorating Poland’s first free elections, for reaching out to eastern Ukraine in attempt to reduce the tension with the pro-Russian portions of the country. Mr. Poroshenko, in turn, described U.S. support as “crucially important” to Ukraine’s future.

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4th May 2014,  The Wall Street Journal