Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Ukraine sacrifices European association for selective justice

Parliamentary session on Nov.13. Batkivshina Party.
 UNIAN/Dmytro Larin
The neglect of Ukrainian government to its own sworn commitments is no longer something surprising for Ukrainian citizens. But these days it seems to lead the aspiration to join EU into a dead end and threatens to throw Ukraine back into the vicious cycle of relationships with Russia as if no lesson was learned from history. 

The infantile attitude among the representatives of the Ukrainian ruling Regions Party goes as far as choosing not to show up at the parliamentary sessions like it happened on Monday, Nov. 11, when only one member of Regions Party came to Verkhovna Rada, Ukrainian parliament. On the agenda is paving the way to signing a trade treaty with EU. The obstacle to join Europe is the imprisonment of a former prime minister Yuliya Timoshenko, a political opponent of the acting president Victor Yanukovich. 

Demonstration in support of Timoshenko in Kyiv
REUTERS/Valentyn Ogirenko
Mrs. Timoshenko was convicted to the seven-year sentence in October 2011 on abuse of power charges, a decision that was condemned by European leaders as political persecution. “The refusal to release and free Tymoshenko threatens to disrupt the signing of the agreement,” said Polish Foreign Minister Radoslaw Sikorski on Polsat News on Oct 31. 

At present Ukrainian Parliament makes attempts to draw the bill to resolve the situation around ex-PM’s imprisonment, but no consensus was reached. 

Arsenyi Yatsenyuk , the leader of Batkivshina Party sees the behavior of pro-president party as a part of a plan to undermine the association with Europe. “Mr. Yanukovich wasn’t going to sign the agreement with EU at the very beginning,” he said on Tuesday, Nov. 12. 

The summit at which the treaty might be signed will take place in Lithuania on Nov. 28-29. For Ukraine the treaty means cooperation and extensive trade with the 28-members block and marks the shift from Russia towards Western Europe. It will open a graduate progression to European living standards, an orientation Ukraine adopted nine years ago. 

At the same time the treaty leads to a trade break-up with Russia who has already slowed down import from Ukraine as a disapproval of the agreement with EU, and promises to raise prices for Ukraine on Russian gas. 

Though in September at UN General Assembly in New York Mr. Yanukovich claimed Ukraine’s European aspirations were the main pillar of the country’s development, the rumors about his undisclosed negotiations with Russia circulated over the beginning of the week. On Tuesday, Nov. 12, acting prime minister Mykola Azarov stated that together with the president they are trying all possible means to regain trade and economic relationships with Russia. 

Earlier this fall the leader of opposition, a former heavy-weight boxing champion, Vitalyi Klitchko urged Ukrainian president to resign in case the association agreement with EU is failed. 

Serhiy Vlasenko, a legal defender of Mrs. Timoshenko predicts new repressions against the opposition after signing of the agreement is failed. 

The comments in social media are torn between calling for revolutionary actions in case the treaty is failed and insulting Mrs. Timoshenko.

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