As Ukraine’s new president was making his inaugural address, his words were followed minutely in eastern Ukraine, which has been in revolt against Kyiv ever since their man, ex-President Viktor Yanukovych, was ousted.
Ordinary people express moderate hope that Petro Poroshenko will improve things. But their leaders are less positive.
“Dialogue will only happen after they withdraw military forces from our territory, after we exchange hostages and prisoners of war from both sides. After that happens then maybe a dialogue with Poroshenko will be possible,” said Denys Pushylin, the self-appointed leader of the self-declared Donetsk People’s Republic.
“Poroshenko is definitely not our president. We did not elect him.”
That does not sound especially promising, and many people are simply disenchanted with all of their leaders.
“After so much bloodshed I don’t think there is anything to talk about. They lied to us so many times and nobody trusts them anymore,” said one woman.
“We will see how it goes, but I think he has a chance as he has not given any cruel orders so far,” said another.
“There was no other alternative, and I think that there will be changes especially after Russian President Vladimir Putin recognised him,” said one young man.
Poroshenko says his two top priorities for the east will be protecting the Russian language, and ensuring Ukraine’s territorial integrity and unity. The first will reassure his opponents, but the second will not.