Ukraine's Yushchenko Asked Hill For Aid

WASHINGTON, DC -- Ukrainian President Viktor Yushchenko asked U.S. lawmakers for economic aid Wednesday in an address to a Joint Session of Congress.

Speaking in his native tongue, Yushchenko said through an interpreter civil society has matured in his nation, a former Soviet republic, and they seek more open relations with the United States.

"Our goal is to place Ukraine among prosperous democracies," Yushchenko said in his address, a highlight of his three-day visit, which also included meetings with President Bush.

Decked out in an orange tie and pocket square, the color of which has come to represent the peaceful revolution that brought him to power over the former Russian-backed government, he entered the chamber to chants of his name by some lawmakers.

Yushchenko also expressed thanks for U.S. support in the fight against fraud in a presidential vote last winter, which was ultimately overturned leading to a second election that swept him into power.

Beyond asking for aid, he also asked for U.S. support for a bid to enter the European Union, World Trade Organization and NATO as well as more direct legislative action to lift U.S. Cold War-era restrictions on trade with former Soviet block states.