There is “personal enmity” between Russian President Vladimir Putin and Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko, observed US Special Representative for Ukraine Kurt Volker during a video conference for European reporters.
Volker said that officially Washington does not support any specific candidate in Ukraine’s upcoming presidential elections.
“We advocate the principles of the simple democratic institutes, reforms to fight corruption, security, and also the restoration of the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine. That is what we support, and we voice this to all candidates,” Volker said.
“I think that this is true – in fact, it is not only true, it is what Russia itself has said – that they want to see Poroshenko defeated, and that is simply a fact,” he observed. “I think that there has just been a development of personal animosity between President Putin and President Poroshenko, and so he’s just looking for a change”. Volker also said it is unlikely that Moscow had chosen any specific Ukrainian candidate to voice its support for.
The US State Department special representative stressed that he is expecting Kyiv to continue on its pro-West course.
Ukraine will hold its presidential elections on 31 March. 39 candidates are vying for the presidency. According to the latest opinion polls, the actor Volodymyr Zelensky is currently the favorite, followed by Yulia Tymoshenko, leader of the All-Ukrainian Union “Fatherland” party. The current president, Petro Poroshenko, ranks third in the polls.