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MOSCOW, December 02. /ITAR-TASS World Service/. International experts practically unanimously assess the Eastern Partnership summit in Lithuania’s Vilnius as a failure, Nezavisimaya Gazeta reports. The main disappointment for EU leaders is connected with Ukraine’s rejection to become an associated member of the European Union.
EU leaders explain this as a result of Moscow’s pressure on Kiev and “inconsistency” of Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovich. They tried at the last minute to persuade the Ukrainian leader, but in vain. Brussels took no notice of the explanations given by Yanukovich.
Meanwhile, Yanukovich practically showed his cards. He explains that association terms and free trade rules with the EU destroy trade and economic relations and manufacturing cooperation with Russia. These terms will cause a slump in Ukraine’s industrial production. Reforms that Ukraine should carry out to meet the association conditions require huge expenses. And all this should take place against the backdrop of Ukraine’s heavy debts. Kiev’s acceptance of the dictated terms will bring the country to the quick default.
Yanukovich proposed to regulate foreign relations in the Ukraine-Russia-EU format. Partners hastily rejected this initiative.
An expert who had created the Eastern Partnership Program was quoted by Nezavisimaya Gazeta as saying that a formula of Ukraine’s association with the EU contained many obligations and just a few incentives.
Yanukovich would soon go to Moscow to sign a roadmap of cooperation between Russia and Ukraine, Ukrainian Prime Minister Nikolai Azarov told the local One Plus One TV channel on Sunday. This will be not an easy bargaining taking into account Kiev’s demands both to the European Union and Russia. The tug-of-war over Ukraine may cost Russia dozens of billions of dollars a year. If Brussels is not ready to allocate such funds, Moscow for political motives can agree for such expenses, even despite its own budget problems.
The Russian president’s spokesman, Dmitry Peskov, told the Kommersant business daily on Sunday, “This issue (concerning the visit of Yanukovich or Azarov to Moscow) is being studied. We cannot name concrete dates.”
“According to the most conservative estimates, the value of Ukraine’s association with the EU costs approximately from €150 billion to €165 billion,” Nezavisimaya Gazeta quoted Nikolai Azarov as saying.
The president of the National Energy Security Fund, Konstantin Simonov, said, “Ukraine is a leaky bucket and there will be no better irrespective of how much money is put in.”
Analytical department director at Alpari Alexander Razuvayev said that, if desired, Russia would be able to compensate for all expenses of Ukraine. “What is €160 billion? This is approximately the annual income of Russian oil company Rosneft or gas giant Gazprom. Until there is no South Stream (gas pipeline), Ukraine with its transit capacities is of advantage to Russia.”
“The fact that Russia is drafting its budget with difficulty is not a problem, if we speak about geopolitical issues. The question is whether the Russian authorities are ready to make such a generous present to their neighbors,” the expert said.
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