BRUSSELS, January 22. /ITAR-TASS/. The situation in Ukraine has affected the preparation for and format of the Russia-EU summit that will be held in Brussels on January 28, Russia's Ambassador to the EU Vladimir Chizhov told Russian reporters on Wednesday in the run-up to the 32nd summit of the parties.
He said, in particular, that at the initiative of the European side, this meeting would be held during one day, while in recent years such talks had traditionally lasted for two days. According to Chizhov, the European side formally explained its decision by the intention “not to go into technical details, but discuss strategic themes of our co-operation.” The European leaders in parallel repeatedly stated over the recent month that “the situation around Ukraine will be discussed in detail” at the summit.
Commenting on statements of numerous analysts that the sides’ differences on Ukraine had affected this EU decision, Chizhov said that “those who believe so are not so wrong.”
“The results of the Vilnius summit of the EU Eastern Partnership Programme (held in November 2013 at which Ukraine refused to sign an association agreement) were taken by the EU very painfully. Attempts to put the blame for all this on Russia are inappropriate, the theses about Russia’s pressure on Ukraine, Armenia and others do not stand up to criticism. Each target country of the Eastern Partnership took its own sovereign decision. Russia’s role was not to form this decision, but to give an objective picture of the consequences of that or other decisions,” the Russian ambassador stressed.
“Judging by reports from the Euromaidan (a wave of ongoing demonstrations and civil unrest in Ukraine, which began on the night of 21 November 2013 in Kiev’s Independence Square with very large public protests demanding closer European integration), when the protest action participants answered reporters’ questions, it was clear that they had absolutely no idea about the content on the Association Agreement, despite the fact that the document had been published,” the Russian ambassador said.
“Many, for example, think that after the signing of this agreement a visa-free travel regime between Ukraine and the European Union would be introduced. Or that the European Union would immediately open its storehouses and a downpour of wealth would immediately flow on the distressed Ukrainian economy. Such illusions exist,” he noted.
Chizhov said, however, that most of the interviews had been made at the initial stage of the protest actions.
“Today, they (protesters) give no interviews any longer, but more and more resort to throwing incendiary bottles and use other attributes of peaceful demonstrations,” the official added.