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Brussels envoys bring forward first demands to Ukraine

October 24, 2013, 11:28 UTC+3

The Rossiiskaya Gazeta newspaper writes about the visit to Kiev by Polish Foreign Minister and his Swedish colleague over the fate of Ukrainian ex-premier Timoshenko

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MOSCOW, October 24 (Itar-Tass) - The Rossiiskaya Gazeta newspaper, in an article titled “First European Warning” writes about the visit to Kiev by Polish Foreign Minister Radoslaw Sikorski and his Swedish colleague Karl Bildt over the fate of former Ukrainian Prime Minister Yulia Timoshenko.

“Seeing Ukraine's opposition politicians and incumbent officials standing at attention before Polish Foreign Minister Radoslaw Sikorski made one uneasy. A huge country lets itself be treated as a vassal state,” the newspaper writes. “The envoys from Brussels — Sikorski and Carl Bildt — who visited Kiev for talks about the terms of release from prison of Yulia Timoshenko behaved as if they came to the territory occupied by western “friends of Ukraine”. They did not mince their words. The European Union demands that Ukraine... the proffered terms are obligatory... Kiev no longer can bluff... These were the most diplomatic phrases the guests used in connection with the situation around Timoshenko.

It is sad to watch our traditional strategic partner, linked to Russia historically, bow to Brussels' ultimatum to release Timoshenko by November 18, the Rossiiskaya Gazeta's article says. One has an impression that neither the presidential retinue nor the Opposition wish to see Timoshenko set free, yet each party is seeking to shift responsibility for possible failure of the association talks with the European Union.

Meanwhile, each party thinks about the upcoming presidential election in Ukraine in 2014 trying to make the maximum advantage of the situation, especially because Kiev, sticking to the old habit, is hoping to sit on two chairs, namely reach an accord with Russia on future Ukrainian-Russian relations before Timoshenko's release. Presidential aide Yuri Ushakov said the situation in connection with Ukraine's possible association with the EU “hangs over the whole range of our relations, and this issue will be touched upon at a meeting between Vladimir Putin and (Ukrainian President) Viktor Yanukovich to some extent. Their talks will take place on Thursday on the sidelines of a session of the Supreme Eurasian Economic Council,” the Rossiiskaya Gazeta noted.

It seems the West fears that Yanukovich at the last moment might “slip off the European track to resume dialogue with Russia”.

On Wednesday, U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Geoffrey Pyatt got down to persuading Kiev to comply with the terms set by its Brussels masters. His statements boiled down to the claim that the Ukrainian economy would fare well in contacts with Europe, and vice versa. But the diplomat never mentioned the possibility of assistance to Kiev by the United States if Ukraine signed the vaunted Association Agreement.

For the sake of this pseudo proximity to one Europe, Ukrainian politicians are ready to salute to any command coming from Brussels, in effect giving away the territory of their country together with factories, farmland and population for a long-term lease to their western masters for a song. Meanwhile, Ukrainian machine-building plants are preparing for massive job cuts due to problems with supplies of their products to Russia, the newspaper notes. The Stakhanov plant in the Lugansk region slashed one-third of its workforce, and the Kryukovo railway car building plant in Kremenchug has announced job cuts, too. These companies used to export up to 80% of freight cars, mostly to Russia, but a falling demand and Moscow's protection measures against Ukrainian railway-car markets actually ousted them from the Russian market.

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