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WASHINGTON, September 18 /ITAR-TASS/. The United States is ready to support Ukraine at talks with Russia, U.S. President Barrack Obama said at a meeting with Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko held in the White House on Thursday.
Poroshenko said he would do everything he could to settle the conflict in his country peacefully.
When asked by ITAR-TASS after his meeting with Obama whether Ukraine had become closer to peace or war after his visit to Washington, Poroshenko said he was strongly committed to peace and would do his best politically, economically and socially to restore peace and stability in the country.
He hopes that the truce in the southeast of Ukraine would bring peace to the region and help to save its major cities of Donetsk and Lugansk.
Poroshenko thanked Obama for his support and called him his friend.
Replying to a question whether he had requested a supply of heavy weapons to Ukraine, Poroshenko said he had asked Obama to step up defence and security cooperation and received an affirmative answer.
Obama said the U.S. would support Ukraine in its talks with Russia and would provide security and economic assistance to Kiev.
He believes that Ukraine wants to have good relations with all neighbours in the east and west, including Russia, but Russia cannot dictate Ukraine how it should interact with its partners.
Earlier in the day, Obama announced an additional $53 million aid package for Ukraine. Of this amount, $46 million will go to security assistance to support the Ukrainian army and border guards, and the remaining $7 million will be transferred to international organisations to provide humanitarian aid to people affected by the conflict in the east of the country.
Also, American specialists will travel to Ukraine next week to discuss energy issues and how to avoid serious energy problems in the coming winter, Poroshenko said. He said it would be crucial to resume gas cooperation with Russia and added that he was ready to hold such a discussion.