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Contrary to US senators Obama shows restraint over European integration of Ukraine

December 16, 2013, 17:29 UTC+3 Zamyatina Tamara
© AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster

MOSCOW, December 16. /ITAR-TASS/. On Sunday, December 15, several minutes before a people’s assembly, the so-called veche, began on Independence Square in central Kiev, Ukraine’s capital, European Commissioner for Enlargement and Neighbourhood Policy Stefan Fule said on his Twitter page that the European Union had suspended work over an association agreement between Ukraine and the EU.

The Internet users have immediately spread this statement as a sensation. This was some kind of signal to Ukrainian opposition to put forward an ultimatum to the country’s incumbent authorities.

Following Stefan Fule’s statement to 200,000 participants of the protest action U.S. Republican Senator John McCain and Democrat Senator Chris Murphy delivered their speeches at the rally. Their message to the protesters was absolutely concrete: Ukraine should join the common Europe.

After these statements the people’s assembly had adopted a resolution with the demand that incumbent President Viktor Yanukovich, who plans to visit Moscow on December 17, should give up an idea of Ukraine’s accession in the Customs Union of Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan.

The resolution noted that “a new Ukrainian president” would sign an agreement on political association and a free trade zone with the EU.

“Two U.S. senators have taken the floor at the anti-government action in Kiev that runs counter to the rules of parliamentary democracy that the West ignored in this case,” deputy chairman of the committee for international affairs of the Federation Council upper house of Russian parliament Andrei Klimov told Itar-Tass. “Even if U.S. garden keepers had delivered their speeches at the opposition rally, this would have been the interference in Ukraine’s home affairs. But the members of the U.S. Congress were speaking up there. If Russian senators had taken a liberty to put forward the similar initiative the uproar would have been raised,” the Russian senator underlined the difference in the conduct of politicians from different countries over European integration of Ukraine.

“Until recently the United States has not interfered actively in the process of European integration of Ukraine. American politicians have limited their pressure on Kiev with the requirements to observe the human rights for peaceful protests and the demand to release from prison former Ukrainian Prime Minister Yulia Timoshenko,” director for international research of the Institute of Modern Development Sergei Kulik told Itar-Tass.

Presently, in the view of the analyst, the situation has changed, “The speeches of two U.S. senators at the opposition rally in Kiev show that under the humanitarian pretext the U.S. interferes directly in the domestic affairs of the sovereign country and tries to exert pressure on the Ukrainian incumbent authorities.”

“The problem is that Republican Senator McCain and Democrat Senator Murphy are the co-authors of a resolution imposing the sanctions against the Ukrainian officials, who violate the human rights. McCain claims the U.S. Congress will approve this resolution unanimously. If this happens the White House will have to toughen the country’s policy towards Ukraine,” the expert added.

Director of the Institute of Political Studies Sergei Markov has another point of view. “American senators are not members of the Cabinet and they do not have major influence on the position of the White House,” the expert said with confidence.

“In contrast to his predecessor George Bush Jr. (incumbent U.S. President) Barack Obama is not a supporter of the doctrine that Russia is surrounded by hostile powers,” Sergei Markov told Itar-Tass.

“The incumbent U.S. president does not try to hamper Viktor Yanukovich’s activity, did not interfere in the situation over the presidential election in Georgia, where pro-American politician Mikhail Saakashvili was defeated. Contrary to EU high-ranking officials, the U.S. authorities show restraint towards the position of the Ukrainian incumbent authorities over European integration. Russia sees and values this position of the U.S. president,” the political expert noted.

As for John McCain’s conduct in Kiev, Russian experts name him as ‘an odious figure’ and a Russophobic politician. Sergei Markov recalled that in reply to Russian President Vladimir Putin’s article in the authoritative newspaper The New York Times Senator McCain answered with a message on the information portal that shows the mentality of the politician, who cannot compare the level of influence of the two media outlets.

“Even if the U.S. Congress approves a resolution with the sanctions against several Ukrainian officials, the White House should not fulfill it compulsorily,” expert Markin believes. “The other point is that if the opposition finds some violations at the re-run parliamentary election in five Ukrainian constituencies there is a threat that the European Union will come out with its resolution against several Ukrainian officials,” the analyst warned.

For his part, Sergei Kulik believes that the U.S. may give a signal to the International Monetary Fund (IMF) not to give new credits to Ukraine. In May President Viktor Yanukovich hopes to receive another IMF tranche of $15 billion, but he was denied it.

Presently Ukraine hopes to receive approximately the same credit from Russia. Russian Presidential Aide Andrei Belousov told reporters on Monday about a possible Russian credit to Ukraine in the near future. Belousov noted that the current situation in Ukraine is so that the country “will just be unable to maintain economic stability” without a credit.

Ukraine “needs a credit of around 20 billion euro, moreover, on normal terms,” Ukrainian Prime Minister Nikolai Azarov stated on December 11.

“Ukraine should pursue an independent policy and not to depend from any unions as a weak party and from anyone at all,” Novaya Gazeta quoted the Kiev police lieutenant, speaking as a mature politician.