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Archive for the ‘International bankers around Russia: Ukraine’ Category

Ukraine continues to sell military hardware to Georgia receiving 800 million dollars of profit

Posted by Kris Roman on July 4, 2009

Ukraine has received about $800 million of profit from the export of arms in 2008. Sergey Bondarchuk, the chairman of the state-run company Ukrspetsexport, said that the nation’s arms export in 2007 brought the profit of $700 million and nearly $800 million – in 2008.

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Russia to introduce visa regulations with Ukraine in case it joins NATO

Posted by Kris Roman on June 16, 2009

A delegation of the North Atlantic Alliance with its chairman Jaap de Hoop Scheffer at the head arrived in Ukraine on June 16 with an official visit. Ukrainian President Viktor Yushchenko invited the delegation within the scope of NATO’s decision to launch negotiations with Ukraine with a view to activate a political dialogue between the former Soviet state and the alliance. In the meantime, the visit raises serious concerns with the Russian administration. Russian officials said that Ukraine’s possible incorporation into the North Atlantic Alliance may result in the introduction of the visa entry between the two countries.

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Timoshenko wants harmony with Russia, but understands, that Ukraine cannot stay out of the large security systems

Posted by Kris Roman on March 6, 2009

Ukrainian Prime Minister Yulia Timoshenko told La Croix French newspaper, she wants a harmony, but not a confrontation with Russia.

“There is a need of certain harmony in energy and in industrial sector in relations with Russia. It is also in our interests to look for a harmony inside a triangle Europe-Ukraine-Russia”, -said Timoshenko, adding that “it meets also EU policy”. Commenting Ukrainian relations with NATO, she stressed that “Ukraine can not stay out of the large security systems”.

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Analysis: Ukraine-Russia gas dispute

Posted by Kris Roman on March 6, 2009

by John C.K. Daly

The new year opened with Russia halting natural gas deliveries through Ukraine to Eastern Europe and points west, reminding the European Union that its Russian gas imports are hostage not only to bilateral economic disputes between Moscow and Kiev but to Ukrainian domestic politics as well. The stoppage, which began Jan. 1 when Russia first diminished gas flows before halting them completely six days later, directly affected 18 nations during one of Europe’s coldest winters in years.

 

EU hopes that the issue was resolved by the 10-year contract signed Jan. 18, covering both natural gas supplies and transit issues, have been dashed. Under the terms of the agreement, Ukraine received a 20 percent discount from the fees that Gazprom charged its European customers. While still giving Kiev a preferential rate to EU customers, the short-term effect was to effectively double the rate paid by Ukraine for Russian gas, from $179.50 per thousand cubic meters to $360 per tcm. The rate would be recalculated every three months. Because of the global recession and subsequent downward trend of energy prices, some analysts were predicting that Ukraine’s price by the early summer would fall to $250 per tcm or less. The contract became a political football between Western-leaning President Viktor Yushchenko and Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko, who brokered the deal.

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Lithuanian politician: Demoralization, discredit and decentralization are three big problems of Ukraine

Posted by Kris Roman on March 1, 2009

“Ukrainian membership to EU relays only on Ukraine and how quickly Kiev will reform the country to meet EU standards. Besides, Ukraine have to permanently tumble Europe with questions: “what we ought to do further”, said Audronius Azubalis, the chairman of the Committee on Foreign Affairs of Lithuanian Seim, while addressing the third Europe-Ukraine forum participants in Kiev on February, 27, reports a REGNUM correspondent.

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Anti-government rally in Ukraine

Posted by Kris Roman on February 22, 2009

Russia Today

About a thousand protesters have flocked to the streets of the Ukrainian city of Sevastopol, to rally against the government’s handling of the economy.

They called for the government’s resignation and new and fair elections.

“President Yushchenko, the government of Tymoshenko and the parliamentary majority consisting of oligarchs and NATO henchmen, who have shown that they are unable to get the country out of the crisis,” read a resolution of the rally participants. “Ukraine needs a total change of power, otherwise it will face famine, ruin and death.”

Many protesters headed to the city from other towns in Crimea to rally against growing unemployment and spiralling living costs.

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Teachers punish kids for reciting Russian poetry

Posted by Kris Roman on February 10, 2009

gestraft-kindThe ‘language policy of the independent Ukraine’ may have gone too far, as two kids have been banned from a school contest for reciting poems in Russian.

In Ukraine’s capital city of Kiev, the senior pupils organisation in school №22 were holding a contest, in time for St.Valentine’s Day, for which the participants were to prepare a song, a dance and a short performance. 

A girl and a boy – Lilya Mikhailova and Sasha Pushka – prepared to perform an extract from ‘Yevgeny Onegin’ by famous Russian poet Aleksandr Pushkin, but their presentation was stopped as the jury asked first the boy to translate the extract into the Ukrainian language – right on the spot. Sasha tried to do so, but was soon stopped, and the jury asked the girl to perform her part, which, of course, was also in Russian. 

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A Ukrainian deputy has divulged open secrets

Posted by Kris Roman on February 3, 2009

 

The Ukrainian Security Service (SBU) has accused the head of the parliamentary commission for investigating the supplying of Ukrainian weapons to Georgia Valery Konovalyuk with breaking the law on state secrets.

The SBU thinks that there are signs in the deputy’s activities of him violating “the code guaranteeing secrecy in state bodies”, ITAR-TASS reports with reference to the security service’s press office. And the secret material which has become public has damaged “the national interests of the country”. As a result, on 25th January the SBU drew up a report on an administrative infringement of the law and passed the case on to the courts.

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Over 80% of Ukrainians do not trust Yushchenko – poll

Posted by Kris Roman on October 27, 2008

 

Ukrainians are rapidly losing trust in their president, Viktor Yushchenko, according to an opinion poll carried out by the Public Opinion-Ukraine foundation and published on Monday.

A total of 81.7% of respondents said they do not trust their leader. In January, the figure was 55.6%. The number of those who trust the president has fallen to 10.4% from January’s 34.8%.

The October poll showed that 67.6% of respondents did not approve of Yushchenko’s recent decree to dismiss parliament and call early elections. The move was supported by 17% of those polled.

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Russian sailor dies in Ukraine’s Crimea after attack

Posted by Kris Roman on October 24, 2008

A Russian Black Sea Fleet serviceman, who had been in a coma after being attacked near Sevastopol, on Ukraine’s Crimean peninsula, last week, has died in hospital, a health official said on Friday. “The Black Sea Fleet serviceman, who was brutally beaten while returning home, has died in hospital,” the source said.

The official said the 28-year-old sailor, known only as Igor, died on Tuesday night, adding that no information had been released on the attack because local authorities wanted to keep the incident from the media.

The attack occurred when the sailor asked three men, who were drinking outside his home, to be quiet. “However, the men responded aggressively by beating him to death,” a local police source said. The victim managed to make it back to his flat where he lost consciousness. His wife found her husband, in a critical state, the next morning.

In Flanders are living Ukrainian nationalists who killed Russians in Donetsk,  etc … and who are now infiltrating Russian patriottic movements.

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Ukraine & corruption : former MP says Ukraine budget missing over $2 bln from arms sales

Posted by Kris Roman on October 10, 2008

 

Only a small portion of revenues from Ukrainian arms exports in the last four years was passed on to the state budget, the former head of a parliamentary ad-hoc investigation commission said on Friday.

“In the past four years, Ukraine exported over $2.5 billion in arms, but only about 1 billion hryvnias ($200 mln) was paid into our state budget. This is 12 times less,” Valery Konovalyuk, from the opposition Party of Regions, said during a Kiev-Moscow video conference.

He also said his commission had obtained documents from Ukraine’s State Treasury confirming the discrepancies.

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Putin to Ukraine: Don’t bite the hand that feeds you

Posted by Kris Roman on October 10, 2008

Ukrainian Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko conducted negotiations with her Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin on October 2. Tymoshenko arrived in Moscow to discuss the question with the price on natural gas, which Ukraine buys from Russia.

Experts say that Tymoshenko may take an advantage over her political rivals in Ukraine in the event the problem is solved positively for Kiev.

Tymoshenko’s trip to Moscow was quite an adventure. Her flight on board the presidential jetliner was canceled shortly before the departure. It was said that President Yushchenko supposedly needed to use the plane too for a flight to Lvov. As a result, Tymoshenko had to board a charter plane. Spokespeople for the Ukrainian prime minister in Kiev said that the incident with the plane had been plotted by Yushchenko’s camp.

Putin reminded Tymoshenko during their meeting in the Moscow region that Ukraine was making arms shipments to Georgia.

“It is a great pity that Ukraine considered it possible to deliver arms to the conflict zone,” Interfax quoted Putin as saying. “There could not be a bigger crime committed to the people of Ukraine and Russia than making arms shipments to the conflict zone,” he added after the talks.

“It was impossible to imagine several years ago that Russians and Ukrainians will be fighting each other,” Putin said. The prime minister emphasized that the shipments per se were not that significant since it was a commercial matter. “But there were military systems and people used to kill soldiers – Russian people, which is an alarming signal for us,” Putin stated.

“Has it been done for the sake of the Ukrainian nation? What are the interests of the Ukrainian people there? This is a political intrigue, an irresponsible and harmful crime, the crime, when the Russian and the Ukrainian nations clash,” Putin said.

Yulia Tymoshenko was not so emphatic in her remarks. She stated that all the accusations need to be proved first. “I do not think that the facts will be confirmed,” she said.

Vladimir Putin pointed out that the unstable political situation in Ukraine may eventually question the effectiveness of the signed agreements between Moscow and Kiev. “But I hope that they won’t be revised,” he added.

“Unfortunately, our meeting is taking place under very complicated conditions. It is connected with the uncertainty in the decisions linked with the political situation in Ukraine. One question arises in connection with the agreements that we are discussing today – what is going to happen with them tomorrow?” Putin told Tymoshenko.

Tymoshenko stated that Ukraine considers Russia as an absolute strategic partner.

Russia ‘s use of force in Georgia has deepened nervousness among many Ukrainians about their larger neighbor, whose leaders are vehemently opposing Yushchenko’s efforts to bring Ukraine into NATO. The Kremlin has warned NATO against granting membership to Ukraine or Georgia.

Moscow could use the price for its natural gas as a bargaining chip in its effort to stem Ukraine’s strengthening of ties with the West.

The gas cooperation memorandum signed Thursday leaves ample room for wrangling over prices in actual contracts. But Tymoshenko said she won a Russian commitment that prices would rise only gradually.

“The parties confirmed their desire to gradually move to free-market prices over the next three years,” Tymoshenko said. “We have reached an agreement that our countries don’t need shock therapy.”

The dealings with Putin are something of a turnaround for Tymoshenko, who has strongly criticized Russia in the past.

She allied with Yushchenko during the Orange Revolution that propelled him to the presidency in 2004 over a pro-Russia candidate, and she said last year the West should thwart Moscow’s ambition to regain influence over countries that were once part of its empire.

But Yushchenko and Tymoshenko have been feuding bitterly — the governing coalition of their political parties collapsed last month, raising the prospect of new elections — and she has increasingly talked about the need to improve ties with Russia.

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Ukraine’s PM blames president for poor relations with Russia

Posted by Kris Roman on September 17, 2008

 

RIA Novosti

Ukrainian Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko sharply criticized the pro-Western president on Wednesday for damaging the country’s relations with Russia.

The premier’s scathing comments on her former ally, Viktor Yushchenko, came a day after the ruling coalition officially split amid political infighting and disagreements over Ukraine’s stance on the recent Russia-Georgia conflict.

“Viktor Yushchenko is personally responsible for all negative trends in relations between Russia and Ukraine,” Tymoshenko told a news conference in Kiev. Her statement effectively ended any hopes that the coalition will reunite.

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Ukraine’s pro-Western ruling coalition dissolved

Posted by Kris Roman on September 16, 2008

 

Ukraine’s parliamentary speaker announced on Tuesday the collapse of the country’s ruling pro-Western coalition, paving the way for possible early parliamentary elections.

The coalition comprised blocs led by President Viktor Yushchenko and Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko. The two were allies in the 2004 “Orange Revolution,” but have since drifted apart on a host of issues, including the recent armed conflict between Russia and Georgia.

“I am officially announcing the collapse of the coalition of democratic forces,” Arseniy Yatsenyuk told the Supreme Rada.

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U.S. warship leaves Sevastopol after protests

Posted by Kris Roman on September 2, 2008

 

RIA Novosti

The U.S. Coast Guard cutter Dallas left Sevastopol Tuesday morning after anti-NATO protests in Ukraine’s Crimean port. (U.S. Coastguard cutter Dallas enters Sevastopol Harbor – video)

The Dallas, which recently delivered humanitarian aid to Georgia’s Black Sea port of Batumi, docked on Monday at the Crimean port, where Russia has a naval base, at the invitation of Kiev.

The ship’s arrival was met by thousands of anti-NATO protesters chanting “Yankees go home!” and waving banners with the slogan “NATO Stop!” Police cordoned off the area around the ship.

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U.S. warship met by anti-NATO protests in Ukraine’s Sevastopol

Posted by Kris Roman on September 1, 2008

 

The crew of U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Dallas, which arrived on Monday morning at the Ukrainian port of Sevastopol where Russia has a naval base, has refused to go ashore amid anti-NATO protests, customs officers said. (U.S. Coastguard cutter Dallas enters Sevastopol Harbor – video)

The Dallas, which recently delivered humanitarian aid to Georgia’s Black Sea port of Batumi, docked at the Crimean port on the invitation of Kiev.

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Activists in Ukraine’s Crimea ask Russia to reclaim territory

Posted by Kris Roman on August 22, 2008

About 50 protesters gathered in the Crimean capital of Simferopol on Friday, urging Russia to pull out of a friendship agreement with Ukraine and to make a territorial claim on the peninsula.

The organizer of the rally, Valery Podyachy, told the gathering: “We ask Russia to tear up the agreement [on Friendship, Cooperation and Partnership with Ukraine] and to file territorial claims to Ukraine.”

The Crimea, which has a predominantly Russian-speaking population, has been the focus of frequent disputes between the Russian and Ukrainian leaderships, over the Russian Black Sea Fleet’s lease of the soviet-era Sevastopol naval base.

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Ukraine to check PM Tymoshenko for illegal activity

Posted by Kris Roman on August 21, 2008

Ukraine’s security service has been given presidential instructions to check the government – right up to Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko – for any activity that could “harm the country’s national interests,” the UNIAN news agency reported Thursday.

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Ukraine proposes missile defence cooperation with West

Posted by Kris Roman on August 16, 2008

ukraine-map-bgUkraine is prepared to open its missile defence network to cooperation with European and other foreign powers, the ex-Soviet republic’s foreign ministry said Saturday.

The ministry said that the demise of a bilateral Russian-Ukrainian defence agreement earlier this year “allows Ukraine to establish active cooperation with European countries.”

The offer came amid tensions between Kiev and Moscow over Russia’s invasion of parts of neighbouring Georgia, a close ally of Ukraine that also borders Russia.

The offer also followed Poland’s finalising of an agreement to host elements of a US missile defence shield which Moscow describes as a threat to its national security.

Ukraine’s foreign ministry said Kiev could invite European partners to integrate their early warning systems against missile attacks.

Ukraine is also ready to deal with “foreign countries interested in getting information about the situation in space,” the ministry’s statement said.

Russia’s parliament voted to withdraw from a bilateral missile radar accord in January in response to Ukraine’s application for membership in the NATO military alliance.

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Moscow accuses Ukraine of disrespect for Russian Church

Posted by Kris Roman on July 26, 2008

Ongoing nationwide religious celebrations in Ukraine have shown an element of disrespect for the Russian Orthodox Church and its millions of members, the Russian Foreign Ministry said on Friday.

Ukraine is marking this week 1,020 years since Christianity was adopted in Kievan Rus, with church services, processions, and other events to mark the anniversary.

The ministry said the Ukrainian ambassador to Russia was summoned to the ministry on Friday, where he discussed the issue with First Deputy Foreign Minister Andrei Denisov.

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Ukrainians protest Sea Breeze 2008 in Crimea

Posted by Kris Roman on July 26, 2008

“NATO worse than Gestapo”

 

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Ukrainian opposition party blocks NATO ships in Crimea

Posted by Kris Roman on July 21, 2008

A Ukrainian opposition party has prevented foreign warships participating in a NATO naval exercise from leaving the Black Sea port of Odessa, the Bratstvo (Brotherhood) press service said on Monday.

Sea Breeze 2008, a NATO military exercise, began last Monday in Ukraine’s Odessa, Crimea and Black Sea coastal regions. Two years ago, the Sea Breeze 2006 exercise in the Crimea was also disrupted by protests.

Ukraine and the United States are joined by 15 other countries for this year’s exercises, which are due to end on July 26. Fifteen Ukrainian ships, four aircraft, 10 helicopters, and 500 service personnel are involved in the military exercises.

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Merkel visits Ukraine, encourages its NATO-Bilderberger ambitions

Posted by Kris Roman on July 21, 2008

German Chancellor Angela Merkel (Bilderberger member) reassured Ukraine on Monday that it will eventually join NATO, and said no countries should influence its decision.

NATO delayed a decision on Ukraine’s accession to the NATO Membership Action Plan, a key step toward joining the alliance, at a summit in Bucharest in spring, mainly over German and French opposition. However, the bloc pledged to review the decision in December.

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Moscow mayor calls Ukraine ‘undemocratic’

Posted by Kris Roman on July 20, 2008

Moscow Mayor Yury Luzhkov, who has been banned from entering Ukraine, said on Saturday that the recent detention of a Russian journalist in the country shows it is ‘undemocratic’.

A journalist for the Russian channel TVTs, who had filmed a report about Ukrainian authorities’ plans to separate the national Orthodox Church from the Moscow Patriarchate, was stopped at Kiev’s Borispol airport late on Thursday and held overnight.

“This shocking incident makes Ukraine look not like a country seeking to position itself as a showcase for promoting democracy from West to East, but like a nation frightened by the truth coming from Russia, and restricting the press, which is absolutely impossible in a democratic state,” Luzhkov told reporters.

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Ukraine says ‘no’ to foreign bases

Posted by Kris Roman on June 16, 2008

Ukrainian President Viktor Yushchenko says his country has no plans to allow foreign military bases on its territory. The statement came during a joint media conference with the NATO Secretary General, Jaap de Hoop Scheffer (Bilderberg). He’s in Kiev to assess the progress of reforms demanded by the alliance before Ukraine can be given a path to membership.
Viktor Yushchenko said foreign forces won’t be permitted on Ukrainian soil, as “this is an objective of our constitution”.

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Russia warns Ukraine over NATO, Black Sea Fleet dispute

Posted by Kris Roman on June 6, 2008

Russian President Dmitry Medvedev told his Ukrainian counterpart on Friday that Kiev’s plans to join NATO run counter to the bilateral treaty on friendship, Russia’s foreign minister said on Friday.

Medvedev also cautioned Viktor Yushchenko at a meeting near St. Petersburg against unilateral steps to expel Russia’s Black Sea Fleet from naval facilities leased from Ukraine, Sergei Lavrov said after the meeting.

“Ukraine’s membership in such an alliance [NATO] cannot be treated as friendly toward Russia,” Lavrov said.

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Russian lower house warns Ukraine against NATO membership

Posted by Kris Roman on June 4, 2008

Russian parliament issued a statement on Wednesday saying that Ukraine’s accession to NATO would unilaterally terminate a friendship treaty with Russia.

The State Duma, the lower house of parliament, adopted the statement to bring Ukraine’s ‘unfriendly’ policies to the attention of the country’s leadership.

The treaty in question is the bilateral Treaty on Friendship, Cooperation and Partnership, signed in 1997.

“We have brought to the attention of our country’s leadership that the actions of the Ukrainian authorities, in particular, the accelerated steps toward joining the NATO Membership Action Plan (MAP), are unfriendly with regard to Russia,” the head of the State Duma Committee on CIS affairs, Alexei Ostrovsky, said.

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Ukraine says no to NATO again

Posted by Kris Roman on May 30, 2008

The Ukrainian governmental campaign aimed at convincing people to support the country’s entry into NATO has faced a series of protests. There were anti-NATO rallies in Kiev on Friday.Earlier on Thursday a fight broke out in Crimea’s largest city of Simferopol between NATO supporters and protesters, where verbal abuse triggered a clash involving about 150 people.

In April the alliance made it clear it will pave the way for the country’s membership only if the majority of the population supports the move.

Recent polls show that more than 60 per cent of Ukrainians are against NATO membership.

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NATO opponents and supporters clash in Ukraine

Posted by Kris Roman on May 30, 2008

Opponents and US-payed supporters of Ukraine’s entry into NATO have clashed in Crimea’s largest city of Simferopol.

 

Police tried to separate the two parties, which were holding simultaneous meetings in the central square of the city. However, verbal abuse triggered a fight involving about 150 people.

The NATO opponents, mostly communists, threw tomatoes, eggs and cartons of juice at their rivals. They were carrying posters, which read ‘NATO Is War Against Slavs’.

 

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Moscow concerned by Ukrainian plans to cut Russian TV channels

Posted by Kris Roman on May 27, 2008

Moscow said on Tuesday Ukraine’s plans to cut Russian TV channels from its cable television network would be a violation of the rights of millions of Russian speakers in the country.

Ukraine cautioned Russia earlier this month that it could stop retranslating Russian language channels over their alleged biased coverage of “sensitive bilateral issues.” The warning came after Moscow Mayor Yury Luzhkov called for Ukraine’s Crimean peninsula to be handed back to Russia.

“We believe such a decision would violate Russian-Ukrainian agreements on media cooperation and hamper bilateral relations in general,” the Foreign Ministry said in a statement.

“We will insist Ukraine observe international democratic principles and ensure people are free to choose information sources,” the ministry said.

Luzhkov has been barred from entering Ukraine for defying numerous warnings and “continuing to call for actions that threaten Ukraine’s national interests and territorial integrity.”

His emotional statement echoed warnings by other Russian politicians that Russia could reclaim the Crimea, now an autonomy, if Ukraine was admitted to NATO, one of a key goals of the country’s Western-leaning government.

The Crimea, which has a predominantly ethnic Russian population, was Russian territory until Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev ceded it to Ukraine in 1954. Russia’s Black Sea Fleet uses a range of naval facilities in the peninsula as part of a 1997 agreement, under which Ukraine agreed to lease the bases to Russia until 2017.

The Foreign Ministry said Ukrainian organizations and individuals have repeatedly complained about the clampdown on Russian language broadcasts. And they have sent letters to Ukraine’s president, premier and parliamentary speaker requesting that they rethink the situation.

Language has been a contentious issue in relations between Russia and Ukraine, where some political groups have opposed the “Russification” of the country.

Russian is still widely spoken in Ukraine, especially in the east, the Crimea and the capital. Many people have never learnt to speak Ukrainian.

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Ukraine council adopts Russian language

Posted by Kris Roman on May 26, 2008

Russia’s language has been given a boost in Ukraine, after one council in the country’s east decided to restrict the use of Ukrainian in local schools. Donetsk Council deputies, who overwhelmingly backed the move, believe it will “improve” the region’s education system.From now on, it is also banned to open new Ukrainian-language kindergartens and enrol new kids in those that already exist.

At the same time, within the framework of the Russian language support programme, Donetsk City Council designated ten “basic schools” which are to extend the study of Russian language and literature.

Most residents of Donetsk are Russian-speaking Ukrainians and ethnic Russians. The region is a stronghold of the pro-Russian Party of the Regions headed by former Ukrainian PM Viktor Yanukovich.

Only a fifth of Donetsk schoolchildren study at Ukrainian-language schools.

Russian language is neither state nor official in Ukraine. Moreover, since 2008 all films can only be shown in their original language or be dubbed in Ukrainian.

The Donetsk City Council decision comes along with the decision of the Council to recognise the Donetsk territory as “an area without military-political blocs and military bases of foreign countries”, and in particular NATO.

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Ukraine bans Vanco from exploring shelf oil and gas : “plundering of the country’s mineral resources”

Posted by Kris Roman on May 12, 2008

The Ukrainian government has pulled U.S. company Vanco International’s license to develop and produce hydrocarbons on the country’s Black Sea shelf, the government press service said on Monday.

“The special license to extract shelf resources, issued to Vanco International Ltd., has been withdrawn,” the press service said, citing Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko.

Earlier on Monday, the prime minister said the deal with the U.S. company was unacceptable, and described it as a plundering of the country’s mineral resources.

Vanco International signed a 30-year production sharing agreement with former premier Viktor Yanukovych’s government in October 2007, covering the Prykerchenska area just south of the Crimean Peninsula.

The company was to have a share of 65% and Ukraine 35% at the prospecting and development stage. The sides were to go 50-50 with the launch of commercial production.

Vanco Energy Company is an integrated independent oil and gas company which operates its exploration and production activities through its wholly owned overseas subsidiary, Vanco International Ltd., and through the wholly owned subsidiaries of Vanco International Ltd.

The company holds and operates six large licenses in five countries, including Cote d’Ivoire, Ghana, Equatorial Guinea, and Gabon.

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Moscow mayor Luzhkov barred from Ukraine

Posted by Kris Roman on May 12, 2008

Ukraine’s Security Service barred Moscow Mayor Yury Luzhkov on Monday from entering the former Soviet republic over his ‘provocative’ statements regarding the ownership of the Black Sea city of Sevastopol.

Moscow’s mayor has made strong calls for the disputed ownership of a Russian naval base on Ukraine’s Crimean peninsula to be transferred back to Russia.

“Russian citizen Yury Luzhkov has been barred from entering Ukraine, starting on May 12, because, despite warnings he continued to call for actions that threaten Ukraine’s national interests and territorial integrity,” Ukraine’s Security Service said in a statement.

Russia’s Black Sea Fleet currently uses a range of naval facilities in the Crimea under a 1997 agreement allowing Russia to lease the base from its ex-Soviet neighbor for $93 million per year until 2017, which is paid for by Moscow with Russian energy supplies.

There have been frequent disputes between Russia and Ukraine over the lease of the base. The base is Russian !

“This issue remains unresolved. We will resolve it for the sake of our state interests, for the sake of the lawful right that Russia has to the naval base of Sevastopol,” Yury Luzhkov said on Sunday during celebrations in Sevastopol to mark the Black Sea Fleet’s 225th anniversary.

According to Luzhkov, Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev gave the Crimea to Ukraine in 1954 as “a token of brotherly love,” but under a 1948 decree Sevastopol was assigned special city status “under the governing central authorities,” and, therefore, could not be included in the list of territories transferred to Ukraine.

“I do not want a split [between Russia and Ukraine over the base], I just want to speak the truth,” Luzhkov said, ignoring previous warnings from Ukrainian authorities not to repeat his numerous calls for the base to be handed over to Russia.

The Crimea, now an autonomous region within Ukraine, is a predominantly Russian-speaking territory. Since the 1991 breakup of the Soviet Union, the Crimea has unsuccessfully sought independence from Ukraine. A 1994 referendum in the Crimea supported demands for a broader autonomy and closer links with Russia.

Last month, the head of the State Duma committee on CIS affairs, Alexei Ostrovsky, said that Russia could reclaim the Crimea if Ukraine was admitted to NATO. Media reported that then-president Vladimir Putin issued a similar threat at a closed-door speech to NATO leaders at the Bucharest summit earlier in April.

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Is Russia fuelling anti-NATO campaign in Ukraine?

Posted by Kris Roman on May 4, 2008

http://www.russiatoday.ru

According to the latest poll, in just three months some 10 per cent of Ukrainians have changed their mind about the country’s strategic plans to join NATO. At a recent summit, the alliance decided not to hand Ukraine a roadmap for entry, citing public opposition as one of the reasons. Some believe that a Russian hand is behind the slump in pro-NATO opinion.

Ukraine’s authorities are doing little to reverse the trend. Most Ukrainians are wary of breaking ties with Moscow in order to join the block of former Cold War enemies.

Vadim Karasev, a political analyst, says Russia is behind the negative trend.

“When President Putin said that Russian missiles could be pointed at Ukraine, it made our people stop and think. Then these never-ending gas wars recurring yearly, and finally some statements that the Crimea is historically Russian land, which should be returned if NATO expands further,” he said.

Only a few believe NATO could bring economic prosperity and improve living standards in Ukraine.
 
The Democratic Initiatives Fund, a pro-western NGO campaigning for European integration, discovered in its latest opinion poll that the already small number of those wanting to join the alliance has fallen even more.

Along with this survey, the agency launched an information campaign aimed at rebuffing some of the stereotypes about NATO.

In leaflets they explain that the alliance did not start the war in Iraq, that Ukrainian soldiers will not fight there unless their government orders them to, and that relations with Russia will only get better should the country join the alliance.

To learn what Ukrainians think about NATO membership click the VIDEO button on the right.

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Why Ukrainians stand up strongly against NATO

Posted by Kris Roman on May 3, 2008

english.pravda.ru

Sociologists consider that the number of Ukrainians who want to see their country in NATO has drastically decreased. Moreover, it happened after the Bucharest summit which the orange revolutionaries put high hopes on. Ukrainians proved to be cleverer than their government. What happened?

On April 24 a Ukrainian social service announced sensational changes in Ukrainians’ preferences in foreign policy. The number of Ukrainians who backed up the country’s entry into NATO dropped ten percent within the past four months. This statement was issued by Ilko Kucheriv, the Democratic Initiatives Fund Director, who presented the results of research conducted by the Ukrainian Sociology Service by order of the fund within the period from March 17 to 31.

“We were shocked by the results. We suddenly discovered that the number of Ukrainians who supported the country’s entry into NATO decreased ten percent,” bewildered Kucheriv said. Indeed, in March public support for Ukraine’s entry into NATO accounted for 21.8 percent, but last December it accounted for 32 percent, the Democratic Initiatives Fund suggested. It is enough to upset those who tried to persuade the world of Ukraine’s long-standing aspirations to join NATO.

The director of the Fund could not but attempt to explain the reasons for it. According to Kucheriv, population support for joining NATO lessened as soon as Ukraine’s striving for the NATO Membership Action Plan (MAP) was actively discussed at the Bucharest summit and after the letter of three leaders had been signed to claim Ukraine’s entry into the MAP.

On the whole, the public opinion poll suggested that about 59.6 percent are against Ukraine’s entry into the alliance, and 18.6 percent gave no answer. According to Kucheriv, NATO membership is mostly supported by inhabitants of Western Ukraine and Kiev. The Democratic Initiatives Fund director did not give further details and mentioned only the western part of the country and the capital, but his estimation does not arouse suspicion.

The attitude of Kievans is more pro-Western; it differed significantly from that of inhabitants from neighbouring regions and even from the Kievan region. To all appearances, there is provincial aspiration to feel like an inhabitant of a European capital, which is possible only with the help of external force. As to Western Ukraine, there are no questions at all. Over many years it was the only region where pros and cons of joining NATO were positively balanced.

So was it a sensation? There are several assumptions, but there is no sensation in any case. Until spring of 1999 there were quite a number of Ukrainian citizens (about 40-60 percent) who did not take a determined attitude to Ukraine’s entry into NATO. There are various reasons for this, but there is no need to mention them right now.

NATO’s aggression towards Yugoslavia caused unease. The Orange Revolution that has a clear geopolitical aspect made some ‘hesitating’ people to make up their mind. As a result, this situation did not change for three-four years. About 50 percent of adults (over 50 percent as a rule) are against Ukraine’s entry into NATO, about 15-25 percent are for the entry (about 30 percent said “more likely yes, than no”).

Probably, the announced sensation is the result of erroneous methods of research. The known Ukrainian inequality from the viewpoint of world outlook causes serious mistakes with insignificant sampling. Two thousand respondents (a standard choice in most public opinion polls in Ukraine) are not enough to obtain trustworthy results. In fact, most public opinion polls in the country evidence this.

The data yielded the Democratic Initiatives research can also serve as evidence. Thus, if there were a Sunday referendum over Ukraine’s EU membership, most Ukrainians (56 percent) would vote for the entry, the fund suggested. Twenty five percent would be against the country’s entry into the EU, 19 percent did not decide yet. The results are quite plausible and they coincide with the results presented three years ago.

However, wonders never cease with a dynamic. Thus, Kucheriv marked that there is a negative dynamic of public opinion in comparison with December of 2007 when 64 percent would vote for Ukraine’s entry into the EU, but there is a positive dynamic in comparison with 2005 when 47 percent were ready to vote for Ukraine’s entry into the EU. It is likely to be the result of insignificant sampling (2000 respondents) or some erroneous method of research.

However, there is another version. Ilko Kucheriv complained that this change in Ukrainians’ attitude to NATO is rather irrelevant – when the USA and New Europe urged Ukraine to join the MAP. It is not to be ruled out that if Ukraine had joined the MAP at the Bucharest summit, some public services would have changed the public poll results later. The same was done with the “rising dynamic.” But it did not happen, that is why they released plausible results.

“I cannot suspect rigging anyway. Maybe, my presumptions are wrong and undoubtedly offensive for honest sociologists. The topic of NATO is unpopular in Ukraine and all Ukrainian politicians know that. So does Yulia Timoshenko who struggles against Viktor Yushchenko, tries to gain Western support and to preserve her popularity in Ukraine. This causes such unexpected statements like NATO membership is “still up in the air”, that “the question will take a decade” or “it will be clear after the referendum”, etc.

However, while the letter of three leaders was first sent secretly, now public discussion of the MAP membership was inevitable. People awoke and understood that they may be ignored when taking serious decisions, which the orange government had already attempted to do. As a result, hesitating people come to their senses and had their say. There might be a grain of sense in these discussions.

If we have a look at the results revealed by the Democratic Initiatives Fund director, we will see that 32 percent of Ukrainians wanted to join NATO at the end of last year, but by late March ten percent of them changed their mind. How can we account for such indecision? Research methods must be wrong…

In any case, it should be noted that the results did not meet expectations of Atlantic (both overseas and local) integrators, that Russia’s clear-cut position will urge on Ukraine to join NATO. Yushchenko was right to say that “Ukrainians are not dumber than Bulgarians or Romanians.” However, he comes to discrepant conclusions. Ukrainians are much cleverer than Kiev, Washington and Brussels think. Unlike its government.

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Russia to increase security if Georgia, Ukraine join NATO

Posted by Kris Roman on April 11, 2008

 

Russia will be forced to strengthen security on its borders if Georgia and Ukraine join NATO, Army General Yury Baluyevsky, chief of the country’s General Staff, said on Friday.

At a summit in Bucharest last Thursday, NATO members decided to postpone offeringGeorgia and Ukraine the chance to join the NATO Membership Action Plan, a key step toward full membership, but promised to review the decision in December.

“Russia will undoubtedly take measures to ensure its security near the state border. These will be both military and other measures,” Baluyevsky said.

When asked to give details of the possible measures, Baluyevsky said that “We will wait, as the issue is ambiguous.”

“Ukrainians are unanimously against Ukraine joining NATO,” the military official said adding that in Georgia about 70% of the population is in favor of membership, but there is still time and this could change.

NATO’s eastward expansion, as well as U.S. plans to deploy components of an anti-missile system in Poland and the Czech Republic, have been a source of concern for Moscow.

Last week Russian President Vladimir Putin told a news conference after meeting with leaders of the 26-nation alliance on the sidelines of the Bucharest summit that “The appearance on our borders of a powerful military bloc… will be considered by Russia as a direct threat to our country’s security.”

In an interview with RIA Novosti on Friday Mikhail Kamynin, a spokesman for the Russian Foreign Ministry, said that one of the problematic issues between Moscow and Kiev is “the course of the Ukrainian authorities toward integration into NATO.”

The issue of Ukraine’s drive for NATO will be discussed among other issues between Ukrainian Foreign Minister Volodymyr Ohryzko and his Russian counterpart, Sergei Lavrov, in Moscow on April 15.

Konstantin Kosachyov, the head of the international affairs committee, said that Ukraine’s possible NATO admission would completely destroy cooperation between Moscow and Kiev in the defense sector.

“Bilateral cooperation between Russia and Ukraine in the security sphere, which was established in the Soviet era by integrating respective structures and continues developing, will end if Ukraine joins NATO,” Kosachyov said.

 

 

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NATO is Ukraine’s Catastrophe

Posted by Kris Roman on April 10, 2008

 

The visit to Ukraine of US president G.Bush is over. A number of bilateral documents were signed, in particular, “the road map” of US–Ukrainian cooperation that defined priorities of their short-time interaction. But different issues keep the attention of the world and Ukrainian public glued on, including other run-of-the-mill documents defining the USA and Ukraine mutual relations. What they focus on is the fact of the visit of head of US White House to Ukraine as such.

The visit of US president to Kiev right before the NATO summit in Bucharest was one of the empty body language acts the official Washington uses to indicate its influence on the Ukrainian political elute. The US is merely incapable of offering to Kiev what it expects. These expectations include: 1) large-scale assistance in the post-Communist Ukraine’s transformation; 2) real support of Ukraine’s entry into the EU.

As for US assistance, in 2005 it totalled $174 million, with $53,3 million earmarked for the implementation of social and economic reforms, a ridiculous amount when serous reforms are on the agenda, and, given the continuing aggravation of the financial situation in the United States there’s hardly anything Ukraine can currently count on.

As for Ukraine’s NATO membership that was the main topic of negotiations Bush held with his Ukrainian counterparts, Kiev is to consider this membership as a step towards another goal for Ukraine’s entry into the EU.

However in their Ukrainian policies, EU leaders stick to a firm line. They think that Ukraine’s membership in the EU is totally out of the question, so its NATO membership would change nothing. True, what Kiev is offered to create together with the EU a free-trade zone (after Ukraine becomes a WTO member). In other words, Ukraine’s status will make it equal to EU Mediterranean partners with many of whom it has free-trade agreements with. More than that, with many of them it has association agreements. But a free-trade agreement would not make Ukraine a millimetre closer to a EU membership, and Brussels would close its ears on Washington’s calls to open its doors to the “democratic Ukraine.”

Meanwhile, the option of becoming a NATO member without any prospect of getting an EU membership cannot satisfy Ukrainian elite on the whole (to say nothing of Viktor Yuschhenko). Kiev politicians realise that a NATO membership first and foremost means that Ukraine’s military and industrial complex would be technologically and financially strangled due to the severing cooperation ties with Russia and the forced refusal of deliveries of armaments to the countries that in the West are considered hostile, and secondly; the full-fledged frontier regime on the Ukrainian-Russian and Ukrainian-Belorussian frontiers with the inevitable consequences for the residents of Ukraine’s east. But Ukrainian authorities would decide to step on this “slippery” path only if they get as “compensation” real prospects of an EU membership, otherwise the course towards a NATO membership would become their political suicide.

That is why Ukrainian political heayweights, Yulia Timoshenko and Viktor Yanukovich are more and more demonstrating their reticence where issues of the North Atlantic organisations, whereas Viktor Yushchenko is the only enthusiast of Ukraine’s NATO membership, but his electoral base is melting and who would need more and more support of the United States in his striving to keep his president’s chair.

The question is how long would Ukrainian elite be satisfied with meaningless and absolutely unfeasible promises of its Western partners. Sooner or later that Ukrainian leadership will have to admit that the prospects of Ukrainian EU membership is a “carrot” that the donkey cannot get, whereas huge political costs of nothing but an attempt to ensure Ukraine’s NATO membership would have to be paid for immediately and in full.

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Russia could claim Crimea if Ukraine joins NATO – MP

Posted by Kris Roman on April 10, 2008

A senior member of the Russian lower house of parliament said on Wednesday that Russia could claim the Crimea if Ukraine was admitted to NATO.

NATO decided at its recent summit in Romania not to offer Ukraine and Georgia the chance to join a program that would have put them on the track to join the military alliance, but promised that the decision would be reviewed in December. The ex-Soviet republics had received strong U.S. backing for their bids.

“If Ukraine’s admission to NATO is accelerated, Russia could raise the question of which country the Crimea should be a part of,” Alexei Ostrovsky, the head of the State Duma committee on CIS affairs, said in a radio interview.

“The Russian Federation has legal grounds to revise agreements signed under Khrushchev.”

Former Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev, who grew up in Ukraine, made the Crimean Peninsula – a territory of 26,100 sq km washed by the Black and Azov seas – part of the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic in 1954. The peninsula had formerly been a part of the Russian Soviet Socialist Republic.

The Crimea, now an autonomous region within Ukraine, is a predominantly Russian-speaking territory. Since the 1991 breakup of the Soviet Union, the Crimea has unsuccessfully sought independence from Ukraine. A 1994 referendum in the Crimea supported demands for a broader autonomy and closer links with Russia.

The Russian Black Sea Fleet retains a Soviet-era base in Sevastopol in the Crimea. Disputes between Russia and Ukraine over the lease of the base are frequent.

However, Ostrovsky admitted that Ukraine was unlikely to join NATO any time soon, saying that the Ukrainian president, prime minister and parliamentary speaker were the only people in the country seeking membership of the Western military alliance. His comments referred to recent opinion polls that have indicated that about 70% of the population is opposed to joining NATO.

NATO’s ongoing expansion, as well as Washington’s missile plans for Europe and an ongoing dispute over the recognition of Kosovo by the U.S and the majority of EU states have plunged Moscow’s relations with the West to a post-Cold War low.

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Ukrainians rally against Bush visit, NATO bid

Posted by Kris Roman on April 6, 2008

“No war – No NATO !”

 

NATO = war !

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Ukrainians remain opposed to NATO membership

Posted by Kris Roman on March 17, 2008

RIA Novosti – Only 11.1% of Ukrainians polled in a survey published on Monday said they supported the country’s drive to join NATO, while almost 36% said they would vote against the plans if a referendum were held.

 

However, only 11.5% of respondents to the survey carried out by the All-Ukrainian Social Service said they supported the idea of holding a referendum on the issue.Ukraine’s Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko said previously that a decision on whether Ukraine should take up any future NATO offer to join the alliance would only be taken after a nationwide referendum.The survey was conducted from February 27 to March 8 and involved 2,500 respondents from all regions of the ex-Soviet country. The statistical margin of error was 2.5%.In January, Ukraine’s pro-Western President Viktor Yushchenko, Prime Minister Tymoshenko and Parliamentary Speaker Arseniy Yatsenyuk sent a letter to the alliance’s Secretary General Jaap de Hoop Scheffer requesting that the country join the NATO Membership Action Plan.However, the opposition Party of Regions led by former prime minister Viktor Yanukovych and the Communist Party, blocked parliament’s work for over a month in protest against the move, saying Ukraine must not pursue NATO membership without a referendum.Parliament reopened for work on March 6 after a deal was reached to approve a special resolution saying Ukraine’s could not join NATO without a referendum.Russia’s president, Vladimir Putin, has threatened to re-target nuclear missiles toward Ukraine if it joins the Western military alliance. The ex-Soviet republic of Georgia is also seeking membership in the organization.Some Western states remain cautious over the two countries’ NATO bids, unwilling to further provoke Russia, which is wary of the alliance’s ongoing eastward expansion.

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Ukraine and Georgia: what are their chances with NATO?

Posted by Kris Roman on March 10, 2008

Fyodor Lukyanov for RIA Novosti – As the NATO summit in Bucharest draws nearer it is becoming ever more evident that Tbilisi and Kiev’s hopes to be put on the NATO Membership Action Plan are not going to come true.Neither the spirited bid by the Georgian President, nor the joint appeal by the heads of all the branches of the Ukrainian government have convinced the Western leaders.How does one account for NATO’s wobbly position? Could it be that NATO has heeded Russian arguments and come to question the rationale of further expansion to the East? Not likely. Nobody in Brussels and the capitals of the member countries is going to abandon the widely touted idea that the North Atlantic Alliance brings nothing but peace, democracy and prosperity to its neighbors. In Georgia at least there is a consensus in favor of NATO membership. As is known, the situation in Ukraine is different.The decision to bring CIS countries into the NATO orbit is a matter of controversy within the alliance. American strategists believe there are no grounds for any doubts: are Georgia and Ukraine all that different from Estonia and Poland? In fact Ukraine is the second state (after Poland) whose admission might make military sense along with political sense. It is a country with a large population (capable of sending considerable numbers of soldiers to man the operations, something NATO has problems with) and it is strategically situated. All the other newcomers make a largely symbolic contribution to NATO’s military capability.The Europeans are less enthusiastic mainly because they fear the Russian reaction. True, until recently diplomats and experts said that Russia had opposed the membership of Central European and the Baltic countries, but eventually resigned to the waves of expansion. This view is expressed today too.For example, noted American analyst Ron Asmus, the head of the Marshall Fund European office, in an article in the influential magazine Foreign Affairs, suggests that the West should not be unduly concerned about Moscow’s reaction. On the whole, however, such arguments are not made very frequently because Russia’s tough position on Kosovo has demonstrated that the style and character of the Kremlin’s foreign policy have changed.Georgia’s and Ukrain’s motives are clear.Georgia thinks NATO membership is the only safeguard against the “Russian threat”. In addition, Tbilisi hopes that NATO would help it to restore territorial integrity. In reality, the result may become counterproductive as a Georgian rapprochement with NATO could prompt Moscow to recognize the independence of Abkhazia and South Ossetia, something it is not yet ready to do now.The Ukrainian leaders, especially President Viktor Yushchenko, also consider NATO membership to be an “anchor” which would finally seal Kiev’s position within the Euro-Atlantic space and in the process cement the patchy state. Yet the desired result may or may not materialize. The common Ukrainian identity is emerging with difficulty, but it is a natural process of “growing together”. An attempt to prod this process could create a backlash.The decision not to rush things, which the leading powers seem to be leaning towards, is due to a number of factors.First, NATO faces a far more important and pressing task: the hostilities in Afghanistan where, as NATO strategists admit, the alliance may suffer a defeat. That would be a catastrophic if not a fateful blow at its prestige. And that will be the focus of the discussions in Bucharest. In Afghanistan, by the way, Russia and NATO share the same goals even though they are not fighting shoulder to shoulder.Secondly, the change of power in Moscow holds out a promise that the atmosphere in the relations between Russia and the West may change. The signs are that the outgoing president is going to end his dialogue with the West on a more constructive note than his Munich speech last year. Otherwise why attend the Bucharest summit at all? And his successor will certainly be more reticent simply because the two Russian leaders have different characters, although no fundamental change of position can be expected. In any case, starting the engagement with the new Russian leadership by openly ignoring its objections is not a very good idea.Besides, if NATO in Bucharest grants the applications from Kiev and Tbilisi in the presence of Vladimir Putin, that will end in a huge row and would be perceived by the Russian President as an open insult.Third, the developments inside the candidate countries provide formal grounds for a postponement. The crackdown on the Georgian opposition in November last year and doubts about the fairness of presidential elections in January have shown that Georgia’s democratic record is not as stellar as its patrons would like to think.In Ukraine the level of pluralism is incomparably higher, but the ruling elite there is in a permanent political crisis. It is no secret that the “like-thinking leaders” – Prime Minister Tymoshenko and President Yushchenko – are at daggers drawn. The prospect of the dissolution of parliament and a new snap election is again mooted in Kiev. In this situation, the NATO theme merely adds to tensions in the relations between the parties.All these circumstances combine to prompt caution in deciding on the “road maps” for Ukraine and Georgia. There is no doubt, however, that the topic will be on the agenda.Among the more credible candidates for US Presidency, at least two would champion further NATO enlargement. They are the Republican John McCain and the Democrat Hillary Clinton. Barak Obama’s foreign policy views are less obvious. But the fact that Zbigniew Brzezinski and his son Mark are among his advisers suggests that Obama’s policy on that issue would not be different from the previous policy.So the new Russian President should steel himself for serious political battles. The next NATO summit in April 2009 will be timed to the 60th anniversary of the alliance. The organizers will surely be tempted to mark that red-letter day in some memorable way.Fyodor Lukyanov is Chief Editor of the journal Russia and Global Affairs.

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