Obama Vows to Back Ukraine with Non-Military Aid
President Barack Obama is promising to provide Ukraine with $5 million worth of non-military aid, including body armor, night-vision goggles and communication equipment.
The president made the announcement Wednesday after meeting with Ukraine's newly elected President Petro Poroshenko in Warsaw, Poland.
"We will not accept Russia's occupation of Crimea or its violation of Ukraine's sovereignty," Obama said. "Our free nations will stand united so that further Russian provocations will only mean more isolation and cost for Russia."
The news comes as fighting in parts of eastern Ukraine is escalating. The unrest is testing the nation's new government.
Pro-Russian separatists just took over two government bases near the city of Luhansk, seizing ammunition and explosives.
Meanwhile, in the face of international condemnation, Russian President Vladimir Putin is denying any Russian military involvement in eastern Ukraine.
"They are lying," Putin said. "There is no military personnel, not even trainers of the Russian army in the east or south of Ukraine, and there have never been."
The crisis in Ukraine will be at the top of the agenda at the G-7 summit, which kicks off in Brussels Thursday without Russia.
Russia was supposed to host the two-day summit but was kicked out because of its seizure of Crimea. Instead, European leaders are planning separate private meetings with Putin.
But France still invited Russia to the 70th anniversary of D-Day events in Normandy this Friday, which sends mixed signals about Europe's stance.
Obama will likely run into Putin at those events. Despite his attempts to sound strong on Ukraine, many Americans disapprove of his handling of foreign policy, with some saying he is less capable than former Presidents Bill Clinton or George W. Bush.
According to a Fox News poll, 68 percent say the Obama administration is less competent than the Clinton administration.
Forty-eight percent say it is less competent than Bush's administration compared to 42 percent who say it is more competent.