Ukraine’s president puts forward plans to counter Russian aggression

Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko has outlined a number of initiatives to tackle military aggression from the Russian Federation in the Donbass region and the Black Sea.

“The strategy of our further counteraction to the aggression of the Russian Federation will be based on a rigid, active defense, which makes aggressive actions of the enemy pointless; the further increase of the defense potential of the state; and active diplomacy focused on the formation of a mechanism to influence the aggressor,” Mr Poroshenko wrote on Facebook.

The president welcomed the decision of the European Union to introduce a new package of sanctions associated with Russian aggression against the Ukrainian navy during the so-called Kerch Strait incident and stressed the need for international sanctions.

On March 6, the Council of the European Union agreed to impose asset freezes and visa bans on eight Russians involved in the jailing of 24 Ukrainian seamen in the incident in November 2018.

According to the latest opinion poll, support for Mr Poroshenko in Ukraine’s presidential elections, which will take place on March 31 and April 21, has grown over the past month.

Currently, comedian-turned politician Volodymyr Zelensky leads the polls by 25.1 per cent. Mr Poroshenko is second with 16.6 per cent while the country’s former prime minister, Yulia Tymoshenko’s support is at 16.2 per cent. All other candidates poll below 10 per cent.

The survey, carried out by the Ukrainian Rating Sociological Group, said that 24 per cent of respondents believe Mr Poroshenko will be elected president after the second round. More than 19 per cent of voters believe the next president is going to be Mr Zelensky, with 17 per cent saying Ms Tymoshenko will emerge as victorious.