"Dear compatriots! The Ukrainian occupation is temporary. We will certainly reunite. Ukraine is indivisible. Glory to Ukraine," he said meaning those in the People's Republics of Donetsk and Lugansk.
It remains unclear whether the "occupation" remark was a mere blooper as the video of the speech was uploaded on the president's official Facebook account [the "occupation" part starts at 19:36]. Social media users could not let this phrase pass unnoticed, arguing whether it was just a Freudian slip or acknowledgement of Kiev's destructive approach to the breakaway regions.
Oops. In his visit to Donbass and surrounded by UAF soldiers (+US senators), Poroshenko talked about "Ukrainian occupation". https://t.co/DmW4IYyUu4— Nahia Sanzo (@nsanzo) 1 января 2017 г.
"The Ukrainian occupation is temporary" (Poroshenko). Golden words https://t.co/QQ1EDJxJH5— #Оксана_ 少佐 (@OkioOkamura) 1 января 2017 г.
But not by shells and bullets alone. In summer 2014, Kiev stopped paying pensions, salaries and wages to the residents of the Donbass republics. In November 2014, Poroshenko signed the Ukrainian Security Council's decision to withdraw state-sponsored institutions from the regions and halt banks' ability to operate there.
Donetsk and Lugansk residents branded it as genocide and economic blockade choking the local population including retirees and children.
With Donbass independence supporters considering Ukrainian troops as occupants, and Kiev's short-sighted aggressive policy of trying to rebuild burned bridges through violence and economic restrictions (stick-and-stick approach, so to speak), Poroshenko's words may not raise too many eyebrows.
In his trip to the Donbass conflict zone, the Ukrainian leader was accompanied by a group of US senators: John McCain, Lindsey Graham and Amy Klobuchar.
Прибув на командний пункт в районі Широкіно з Джоном Маккейном, Ліндсі Гремом та Емі Клобучар, щоб привітати наших Воїнів з Новим роком pic.twitter.com/kj2b98kFJ7— Петро Порошенко (@poroshenko) 31 декабря 2016 г.
Poroshenko presented McCain, who has been a top cheerleader for supplying Kiev with lethal arms, with a domestically created assault rifle; however, Lenta.ru argued the weapon is in essence a clone of the Israeli TAR-21, and some of its components are manufactured in the Middle-Eastern country.
На передовій Президент нагородив сенатора Маккейна українською зброєю pic.twitter.com/LBIBwCwxm8— Svyatoslav Tsegolko (@STsegolko) 31 декабря 2016 г.
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