Poroshenko claims 9,000 Russian troops are fighting in Ukraine

The Ukrainian president demanded that Russia close the border and withdraw all its "foreign troops" from his country.

Michel Euler/AP
Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko shows a piece of a bus that was attacked recently during the panel "The Future of Ukraine" in Davos, Switzerland, Wednesday, Jan. 21, 2015.

Ukraine's president courted European support Wednesday against what he says are 9,000 Russian troops occupying 7 percent of his nation's territory.

Addressing the World Economic Forum in Davos, President Petro Poroshenko held up a piece of a bullet-riddled bus as evidence of shelling last week by Russian heavy artillery in "occupied" parts of his country.

The Ukrainian leader called the scrap of yellow metal — a relic of Volnovakha, the town where 13 people were killed when a bus was shelled — evidence of Russia's hand in the conflict.

"I have here part of the Volnovakha bus, with the hit of the fragments of the Russian missiles which hit my people. And for me this is a symbol, a symbol of the terroristic attack against my country," he said, comparing it to the rockets that brought down Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 over rebel-held eastern Ukraine. He called it a "global problem," extending far beyond just Ukraine's borders.

Poroshenko demanded that Russia close the border and withdraw all its "foreign troops" from Ukraine.

Ukraine's intelligence has confirmed from independent sources that there are more than 9,000 Russian troops on its territory, including more than 500 tanks, heavy artillery and personnel carriers, Poroshenko told the crowd of political and business elites.

"If this is not an aggression, what is an aggression?"

Russian, Ukrainian, French and German diplomats were converging on Berlin later for talks on a recent escalation of fighting between Ukrainian government forces and Russian-backed separatists, who both use similar Soviet-designed weapons. But the amount of sophisticated heavy weaponry in the insurgents' hands has been widely seen in the West as strong evidence of Russia's direct involvement.

Poroshenko's delegation brought to Davos a detailed description of territory west of the ceasefire line that they say the Russians and their rebel allies have seized since the ceasefire. It also described Russian involvement as being confirmed by Western spy satellites.

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