The National  Memo Logo

Smart. Sharp. Funny. Fearless.

Monday, December 09, 2019 {{ new Date().getDay() }}

By Michael A. Memoli, Tribune Washington Bureau

WASHINGTON — Ukraine’s new president thanked the United States for showing solidarity with the people of Ukraine, but warned that greater tests lie ahead, telling Congress that his nation’s fight against Russian aggression “is America’s war, too.”

Petro Poroshenko, addressing a joint meeting of Congress at the start of a daylong visit to Washington on Thursday, called incursions into Ukrainian territory by Russia “one of the worst setbacks for the cause of democracy in the world in years.” He asked for additional political and logistical help, and for the United States to give his country a special non-allied partner status in NATO.

“Democracies must support each other,” Poroshenko said. “They must show solidarity in the face of aggression and adversity. Otherwise they will be eliminated one by one.”

Elected president of Ukraine in May following Russia’s annexation of Crimea and as fighting escalated against Russian-backed separatists in the east, Poroshenko acknowledged fears of “a new Cold War” but said that it must not be accepted “as an inevitability.”

Even as he warned that the “imperialistic mindset” of the former Soviet Union persisted today in Vladimir Putin, Poroshenko said he stood ready to work with Russia to sustain the recent cease-fire agreement. But he said he would never agree to “Ukraine’s dismemberment,” calling the annexation of Crimea one of the “most cynical acts of treachery in the modern era.”

“We will never obey or bend to the aggressor,” he said. “We are ready to fight. But we are a people of peace.”

Poroshenko is set to meet with President Obama later Thursday at the White House. His visit comes as the United States has been consumed by the new threat posed by Islamic State militants.
Poroshenko acknowledged that Americans are weary of conflict after a decade of war, but said this was a moment in history “whose importance cannot be measured solely in percentages of GDP growth.”

“Values come first — this is the truth the West would remind Ukraine of over the last years. Now it is Ukraine’s turn to remind the West of this truth,” he said.

Poroshenko was greeted warmly by members of Congress, and his speech was interrupted repeatedly by standing ovations. He broke from his prepared text at the start of speech, saying it was “impossible to imagine what I am feeling right now.” The famously sentimental House Speaker John A. Boehner (R-OH) also teared up as Poroshenko hailed the ties between the two nations.

He concluded his speech by linking the well-recognized New Hampshire state motto, “Live free or die,” to the spirit of his nation’s own clashes: ” ‘Live free’ must be the message Ukraine and America send to the world, while standing together in this time of enormous challenge.”

AFP Photo

Interested in world news? Sign up for our daily email newsletter!


Start your day with National Memo Newsletter

Know first.

The opinions that matter. Delivered to your inbox every morning

Jeff Danziger lives in New York City. He is represented by CWS Syndicate and the Washington Post Writers Group. He is the recipient of the Herblock Prize and the Thomas Nast (Landau) Prize. He served in the US Army in Vietnam and was awarded the Bronze Star and the Air Medal. He has published eleven books of cartoons, a novel and a memoir. Visit him at DanzigerCartoons.

Donald Trump

Youtube Screenshot

The baseless claim that the FBI may have planted evidence while carrying out a court-approved search of Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago residence on Monday has surged through right-wing media, as the former president’s allies continue their effort to turn their audiences against the probe and shield Trump from accountability.

The FBI searched the premises after obtaining a warrant from a federal magistrate judge and “removed a number of boxes of documents” as part of a federal investigation into whether Trump had illegally “taken a trove of material with him to his home at Mar-a-Lago when he left the White House that included sensitive documents – and then, in the Justice Department’s view, had failed to fully comply with requests that he return the disputed material,” the New York Times reported. Politico concluded after consulting with legal experts on the handling of classified documents that “it’s highly unlikely the DOJ would have pursued – and a judge would have granted – such a politically explosive search warrant without extraordinary evidence.”

Keep reading... Show less
{{ }}