Obama says Poroshenko a wise choice for Ukraine, pledges aid

WARSAW (REUTERS) - US President Barack Obama on Wednesday called Ukraine's President-elect Petro Poroshenko a "wise selection" to lead the country and pledged more military aid to help address security threats from Russian-backed separatists.

Obama, speaking to reporters after a meeting with Poroshenko in Warsaw, said they discussed the new leader's plan to restore peace, boost economic growth, and reduce energy dependence on Russia. "In my discussions with him today it's clear he understands the hopes and aspirations of the Ukrainian people," Obama said.

Obama said he discussed with Poroshenko ways the United States can help train Ukrainian law enforcement and military personnel.

The White House said in a statement after the meeting that Obama had approved an additional US$23 million (S$29 million) in defense security assistance to Ukraine since early March, including US$5 million for "the provision of body armor, night vision goggles, and additional communications equipment."

Ukrainians have urged Washington to provide more support to help reduce concerns over Russian intervention in the country.

The White House said other aid has included 300,000 ready-to-eat meals and financing for medical supplies, helmets, hand-held radios and other equipment.