Petro Poroshenko has taken the oath of office as Ukraine’s President, assuming leadership of a country mired in a violent uprising and economic troubles.
Mr. Poroshenko, who became a billionaire as a candy tycoon, was elected on May 25, 2014 three months after the pro-Russian president Viktor Yanukovych fled the country in the wake of months of street protests.
In his inaugural speech, Poroshenko is expected to detail plans for ending a pro-Russian separatist uprising in the country’s east that broke out after Mr. Yanukovych’s ouster.
Mr. Poroshenko was elected on May 25, 2014 with more than 54 per cent of the vote.
The ceremony in the Ukrainian Parliament, the Verkhovna Rada, was attended by high-ranking delegations from Western governments, which include U.S. Vice-President Joe Biden, E.U. President Herman Van Rompuy and the presidents of Poland and Germany, Bronislaw Komorowski and Joachim Gauck.
Russian President Vladimir Putin was explicitly not invited, but Moscow is being represented by Ambassador Mikhail Zurabov, who was officially sent back to Kiev after being recalled “for consultations” earlier this year.
Russia has taken a hostile stance against the pro-Western government in Kiev by denouncing its members as a “junta” and accusing the United States and the European Union of supporting a violent putsch.
However, Mr. Putin has neither called Mr. Poroshenko’s election illegitimate nor endorsed it. Instead, he has said he will “respect the choice” of the Ukrainian people.