Valeriy Kucheruk on Ukraine

However strange it might be, neither the European Union nor Russia shows a special desire to seriously treat Ukraine’s initiatives to hold trilateral negotiations directed at looking for the improvement of economic relations. However, Vladimir Putin has recently stated that Moscow is ready for such negotiations but… only until Ukraine makes the decision to sign the Association Agreement. “He (Viktor Yanukovych) only offers to hold negations for the three – Europe, Ukraine, Russia…We – support but only until the decision has been made,” said Putin.

At the same time the EU refuses the offer about the trilateral dialogue and insists that it “is not an option and has no precedents”. “The EU offer of the bilateral association remains on the table and we don’t see any role for a third country in this process,” reads the statement of the foreign minister of Lithuania, Linas Linkevicius.

Since the gaining of independence Ukraine efforts to decide on its foreign policy vector have shown that neither the EU nor Russia is interested in the final result of the process. Both sides demonstrate readiness to keep on maintaining Ukraine, which is still regarded as an unequal partner, in “suspense”.

Ukraine’s aspirations for European integration has shown once more that both the EU and Russia regard Ukraine exclusively in terms of engaging and demonstrating political and economic levers of pressure. It seems that the EU has its own reasons to insist on communication with Russia only in the “language of diplomacy”.

At the same time Ukraine has always demonstrated its readiness to discuss the existing trade and economic problems with Russia. However, the Russian leadership, on the one hand, admitting that they exist, and on the other hand, being the cause of them, has taken on a wait-and-see approach. It is clear that Russia, which is openly criticizing the EU’s pressure on Ukraine, is not satisfied with the break which Ukraine has taken in the European integration process. And the EU is openly irritated by this.

Although Ukraine’s priority in foreign policy remains European integration, the EU prefers not to focus attention on the fact that trade partnership with Russia is very important for the Ukrainian economy. But one thing is to criticize Russia for pressure and the other one – is not to offer anything in return. The most demonstrative in this respect turned out to be the recent interview of the British ambassador to Ukraine, Simon Smith, who does not believe in the losses of the Ukrainian economy due to the conflicts with Russia, and stated that the EU does not have “to pay compensation for <Ukraine’s> weakness”. “I wasn’t convinced by the numbers provided by the representatives of the government. Over the last few days I’ve heard from them about $105 billion losses and even $160 billion but they didn’t substantiate these data at all. Obviously, the government expects problems in trade with Russia but I want to emphasize: I absolutely see no reasons to make such problems,” he said. “Do we really have to pay for weakness? Or because people are not ready to modernize production?” added the diplomat not diplomatically.

As we can see, Ukraine has happened to be between two fires or between the upper and the nether millstone. It is obvious that Russia and the EU are waging a hard battle for Ukraine. But this battle is somewhat weird – sometimes it seems that it is only a process of it that matters but not the final result.


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