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Poroshenko asks for ‘defensive weapons’ against rebels

By AFP   |   14 September 2015   |   11:05 am  

President Petro PoroshenkoUkrainian President Petro Poroshenko stressed Monday his wish for “defence weapons” from Western allies to help in the conflict against pro-Russian separatists.

Ukraine needed support “not just with words”, he said in an interview with Germany’s conservative Die Welt daily, mentioning the need for defensive weapons.

“We are not just defending our country, we are defending freedom and democracy,” Poroshenko said.

“We are fighting with 20th century weapons against weapons from the 21st century. And Russia’s military budget is 30 to 45 times as big as ours.”

Kiev and the West accuse Russia of sending regular troops and weapons to aid separatists in the east, where nearly 8,000 people have died in the conflict since April 2014. Moscow has always denied involvement.

Kiev’s goal was to build up a working military deterrence, said Poroshenko.

Germany and other countries have rejected weapons shipments, fearing it would escalate the fighting.

In the conflict zone, a total ceasefire was announced starting September 1, and so far appears to be holding.

The foreign ministers of Germany, Russia, Ukraine and France met in Berlin last Saturday to prepare for a summit in Paris on October 2.

Germany’s top diplomat, Frank-Walter Steinmeier, said the meeting had been “less confrontational” than previous ones and that the warring sides were now “very close” to an agreement on withdrawing heavy weapons from the frontline.



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