Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko lifts his arms in greeting after the inauguration ceremony in Sophia Square in Kiev, Ukraine, Saturday, June 6, 2014. (AP Photo/Sergei Chuzavkov)
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Ukraine's new president Petro Poroshenko said his country would never give up Crimea and would not compromise on its course towards closer ties with Europe, spelling out a combative and defiant message to Russia in his inaugural speech on Saturday.Russia annexed the Crimean peninsula in March, weeks after street protests ousted Poroshenko's pro-Moscow predecessor, Viktor Yanukovich, in a move that has provoked the deepest crisis in relations with the West since the Cold War.This idea is anathema to Moscow, which wants to keep Ukraine in its own post-Soviet sphere of influence.His voice swelling with emotion, Poroshenko stressed the need for a united Ukraine and the importance of ending the conflict that threatens to further split the country of 45 million people. Poroshenko, Ukraine's fifth president since independence, won a landslide election on May 25 after promising to bridge the east-west divide that has split the country and thrust it into a battle for its survival.Since Poroshenko's election, government forces have stepped up their operations against the separatist rebels in eastern Ukraine who want to split with Kiev and become part of Russia.
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