D-Day ceremony to show Europe's unity behind Kiev: Ukraine
Ukraine's president-elect Petro Poroshenko said Friday's D-Day commemorations would serve as a show of European unity and support for Kiev in its current crisis.
On a visit to Berlin for talks with Chancellor Angela Merkel Thursday before heading to France to mark the Allied landing in June 1944, Poroshenko said he was grateful for Western backing.
"Tomorrow we will celebrate the 70th anniversary of D-Day in Normandy," he told reporters.
"Europe will demonstrate its unity and support for Ukraine, just as it did in Warsaw, where all of Europe, the whole world showed its solidarity with Ukraine."
US President Barack Obama on a visit to the Polish capital Wednesday condemned the "dark tactics" and "aggression" of Russia against Ukraine after meeting Poroshenko and promised him years of US support.
Poroshenko said he was hopeful that after his swearing-in on Saturday there would be "new possibilities for a programme to pacify eastern Ukraine" which is wracked by deadly clashes between pro-Russian rebels and government troops.
"The position of the Russian Federation is clearly damaging, for both sides -- that seems to be clear also to Russia by now," he said.
Merkel, who is also due to attend the D-Day commemoration, said Ukraine was "still in a difficult situation" but pledged Germany would continue to support Kiev "in word and deed if Ukraine asks us for it".
But she stressed that G7 leaders meeting in Brussels this week had agreed that Ukraine's "territorial integrity" and economic wellbeing also "required the support of Russia".
"So of course we will discuss what can be expected of Russia to be successful in these areas," she said.
Merkel is due to hold talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Normandy Friday.
© 2014 AFP