For once, Ukraine was in the headlines with a good news story. President Poroshenko’s visits to Ottawa and Washington this week were leading stories in Canadian and American media over the past few days. Along with the Scottish referendum, the growing Ebola crisis, the ISIS terrorist threat. And controversial Toronto mayor Rob Ford being diagnosed with cancer.
Canada’s two leading national TV networks, CBC and CTV, live streamed Poroshenko’s speech to the joint session of Parliament and Senate on the Hill on Wednesday 18 September, a rare occurrence. Minutes after the speech, the wires were reporting the key moments, the numerous standing ovations.
“Canada is a friend indeed,” was one of the Poroshenko’s most popular quotes that a number of media outlets used as a headline.
The following day, American TV channels also showed the standing ovations Poroshenko received from the joint session of US Congress and Senate. They showed clips of the speech that Ukraine’s president delivered with panache, in impeccable English, using terminology that Americans are used to, like “It is the war for the free world,” and “Aggression against one democratic nation is aggression against all of us.”
After meeting with US President Obama, Poroshenko appeared on CNN with Wolf Blitzer. When the award winning journalist asked him point blank whether the US had agreed to Ukraine’s request for major non-NATO ally status, that countries like Japan, South Korea, and Israel enjoy, Poroshenko answered frankly, “My answer would be, again, very straightforward. The answer of President Obama was no,” and then he went on to explain the reasoning.
A story on the radio caught my attention in the evening as I was driving home. It was further down the headlines, about a deal signed between Canada and the US on energy cooperation. Both are looking to diversity their global markets. US Energy Secretary, Ernest Moniz, and Canadian Natural Resources Minister Greg Rickford both spoke of collective energy security. What caught my attention was that they both said they’re looking at Ukraine, want to help ‘Ukraine’s transition to a more independent energy strategy,’ and to help lessen its energy dependency on Russia. But this is a long term plan.