Ukraine’s Petro Poroshenko met U.S. President Donald Trump on Thursday and said afterwards that they had a shared vision on a “new level” of defense cooperation, but not whether this included the U.S. provision of defensive weapons to Ukraine, Reuters reported.
The United States is reviewing whether to send weapons to Ukraine to help it defend itself, an option that previous U.S. president Barack Obama vetoed and which is opposed by Russia.
After meeting Trump in New York, President Poroshenko told a televised briefing: “It’s very important that there is a shared vision on a new level of cooperation in the defense sphere.”
“We discussed all areas of this cooperation, including cooperation with the defense ministry and other institutions,” he added, without saying whether there had been any progress on the defensive weapons initiative.
The two leaders skirted around the topic of Russia when they spoke to reporters at the beginning of their private meeting.
Instead, they chose to emphasize economic cooperation when they appeared before reporters at their meeting on the fringes of the U.N. General Assembly.
Relations between Kiev and Moscow are at their lowest ebb since Russia annexed Crimea more than three years ago and Russian-backed separatist fighters took up arms against Ukrainian government forces in the east of the country.
Before holding private talks, Trump praised Poroshenko, telling him that “I wouldn’t say it’s (Ukraine) the easiest place to live” but “it’s getting better and better on a daily basis.”
Speaking in English, Poroshenko said he believed that the two countries had improved security and economic cooperation with many U.S. companies doing business in Ukraine.
“That’s a story that’s pretty untold,” said Trump. “Companies are going very strongly right now into the Ukraine, they see a tremendous potential there.”