By Justin Sink - 05/27/14 12:34 PM EDT
President Obama called Ukrainian President-elect Petro Poroshenko on Tuesday to “offer the full support of the United States” following his commanding victory in last weekend’s election.
Poroshenko, a billionaire chocolate tycoon, handily beat former Ukrainian Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko in the first election since the ouster of pro-Russian President Viktor Yanukovych.
Poroshenko’s election was seen as an encouraging sign for Western powers, who have billed the election as a chance for the Ukrainian people to have their voices heard amid encroachment from Russia. Poroshenko has promised he would seek further economic and security integration with Europe.
The U.S. and Europe have imposed sanctions on Moscow over its annexation of the Ukrainian region of Crimea, as well as the efforts of pro-Russian separatists in the country’s eastern and southern regions. Obama had vowed additional sectoral sanctions if Russia was found to have interfered with the vote.
In a statement over the weekend, Obama hailed Poroshenko's election as a step forward for Ukrainians who “have repeatedly demonstrated their desire to choose their leaders without interference and to live in a democracy where they can determine their own future free of violence and intimidation.”
Obama and Poroshenko plan to speak again during the president's trip to Europe next week, according to the White House.