EU Disapproves of Russia’s Blackmail Tactics on Ukraine

Written by | Wednesday, November 27th, 2013

Herman Van Rompuy and José Manuel Barroso – the presidents of the European Council and the European Commission – issued a joint statement yesterday (26 November), in which they criticized Russia for putting pressure on Ukraine to scrap plans for political and trade agreements with the European Union. The top EU leaders also condemned Russia’s actions and praised the pro-EU demonstrators who have taken to the streets of Kiev: “It is up to Ukraine to freely decide what kind of engagement they seek with the European Union. We therefore strongly disapprove of the Russian position and actions.”
The Ukrainian government decided it would suspend signing the trade agreement with the European Union in the interests of “national security” and a desire to re-launch “active dialogue” with Russia. The unexpected decision came yesterday (21 November), only eight days before Ukraine’s President Viktor Yanukovitch was meant to sign the landmark trade deal. This dramatic change has been to a great extent caused by the fears of Ukraine’s politicians that Russia would adopt severe retaliatory measures affecting trade between the two countries if Kiev signed the deal. Yet, according to official statements, the EU-Ukraine pact was suspended due to “national security concerns”.
As more than 100,000 people are said to have rallied in Kiev on Sunday, the joint statement hailed this development by saying that “Ukrainian citizens have again shown these last days that they fully understand and embrace the historic nature of the European association.” With the EU’s offer to Ukraine still on the table, the European Union is “convinced that signing the Association Agreement and a DCFTA (Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Area), the most ambitious agreement the European Union has ever offered, provides the best possible support for Ukraine’s economic situation, reform course and modernization in view of building a prosperous and stable future for all Ukrainians.” The EU was still hoping to sign trade and political deals with Ukraine at the upcoming summit in Vilnius on 28-29 November with six post-Soviet neighbors.

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