Yanukovych Comes to Moscow To Build Bridge Between Russia and the West

Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych arrived in Russia on March 5.

“It will be a crucial point in the change of relations between our countries. It will be a turn for the better in all directions,” he said.

Almost the entire administration of European organizations attended the inauguration of Viktor Yanukovych on February 25. Many experts and journalists did not leave this fact out of their attention and tried to analyze the significance of such attention. It is not ruled out that the European Union was seriously concerned about a change of Ukraine’s politics with Russia.

Yanukovych said during his pre-election campaign that Ukraine had to improve its dialogue with Russia and continue the Europe-oriented political course.

Yanukovych made his first foreign trip on March 1 to Brussels. He conducted talks with the President of the European Commission Jose Manuel Barroso and the President of the European Parliament Jerzy Buzek.

Unlike Yushchenko, who preferred to make oaths of eternal love to the nation’s European partners, Yanukovych specified his priorities of relations with the EU. They include the signing of the agreement on association (a first step on the way to the EU), the creation of the free trade zone, the non-visa regime and the EU’s support in overcoming the consequences of the economic crisis in Ukraine.

Mr. Barroso, the head of the European Committee, said after his meeting with Yanukovych that the agreement on association could be signed already this year. The EU is also ready to provide financial assistance to Ukraine in the amount of 500 million EUR.

Many wondered why Yanukovych made his first trip to Brussels, not Moscow. There is no reason to look for any hidden motive here, just like in Dmitry Medvedev’s absence at Yanukovych’s inauguration. It was just a difference in the work schedule of the two leaders.

Yanukovych said that his visit to Brussels was extremely important for Ukraine.

“Ukraine’s biggest priority is to retrieve the economy. That is why, my visit to Brussels is especially important taking into consideration the perspectives to restore Ukraine’s relations with the IMF and retrieve the trust of Western investors,” he said.

One shouldn’t forget that Ukraine neared default several times during the years of the orange power. The majority of foreign investors left the country. Therefore, even the first step to obtaining the official status of a EU candidate is highly important for the credit rating and investment perspectives.

European officials said several years ago that Ukraine could not even dream about becoming a member of the European Union. Now it seems that they have changed their mind.

The European Parliament passed a resolution on February 25 in which it was said that Ukraine could file an application for the EU membership like any other European state that followed the principles of freedom and democracy. The document said that the cancellation of the visa entry regime with Ukraine was also possible.

The last promise was like honey which Ukraine wanted to taste so badly for years. As of today, neither Ukraine, nor the EU is ready to cancel he visa entry regime technically or morally. There is no migration service in Ukraine; the requirements to obtaining foreign passports are messy.

All those promises are based on valuable considerations, though. Ukraine is supposed to guarantee energy safety to Europe. Time will show if Yanukovych can build a bridge between Russia and the West.

Irina Berezhnaya

Read the original in Russian

Russia Today: Yanukovych between east and West

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Author`s name Dmitry Sudakov