By Alejandro Freixes, CCNN Head Writer
For months, pro-Russia rebels have been battling Ukraine’s government, trying to bring the country under Russian President Vladimir Putin’s control. The conflict first erupted last year when the previous Ukraine president made an economic deal with Russia instead of the European Union (EU), prompting widespread protests that led to his removal in February. Putin hit back with political and military pressure that ultimately led to Ukraine’s Crimea region becoming part of Russia and the cities of Donetsk and Luhansk falling into chaos.
Now, former boxing champion Vitali Klitschko, who was among the leaders calling for closer ties to Western powers like the USA and EU, has been elected mayor of Kiev, Ukraine’s capital and largest city. He looks forward to working closely with his ally, billionaire “Chocolate King” Petro Poroshenko, a successful candy businessman who won the presidential election this past weekend.
The two powerful politicians plan on repairing relations with Putin while striking back at the pro-Russia forces taking over southern and eastern Ukraine. Poroshenko believes his positive relations with Putin and his business connections to Russia will help smooth things over, and he’s optimistic about a “meeting with the Russian leadership” that he expects will “take place in the first half of July”. The new Ukrainian president is confident that the meeting won’t “be just to shake hands” because he and Putin “know each other quite well”. In fact, Poroshenko expects the discussion to create meaningful change and “lead to very important results.”
Featured image courtesy of US State Dept. on Flickr. Image of Cabinet building courtesy of Daniel Haußmann on Wikipedia.