Tag Archives: European Union

#Putin wants to destroy #Ukraine and restore Soviet Union, says #Yatseniuk #SovietUnion

Ukrainian PM tells a conference of European politicians that his country is in a ‘state of war’ and Russia is the aggressor.

A Ukrainian soldier stands next to a tank near the eastern Ukrainian town of Pervomaysk on Friday. Photograph: Gleb Garanich/ReutersA Ukrainian soldier stands next to a tank near the eastern Ukrainian town of Pervomaysk on Friday. Photograph: Gleb Garanich/Reuters

The Russian president, Vladimir Putin, wants to destroy Ukraine as an independent country and to restore the Soviet Union, Ukrainian prime minister Arseny Yatseniuk said on Saturday.

Speaking at a conference in Kiev attended by European and Ukrainian politicians and business leaders, Yatseniuk also praised a new wave of economic sanctions imposed on Russia by the European Union and the United States and said they posed a major threat to the Russian economy.

“We are still in a stage of war and the key aggressor is the Russian Federation … Putin wants another frozen conflict (in eastern Ukraine),” Yatseniuk said.

“His aim is not just to take Donetsk and Lugansk,” Yatsenyuk said. “His goal is to take the entire Ukraine … Russia is a threat to the global order and to the security of Europe.”

He described the truce signed on 5 September in Minsk between Kiev, pro-Russian rebels and Moscow and the European security body the OSCE after five months of conflict in eastern Ukraine as just a “first step” to “stop a massacre”.

He said that having a bilateral accord with Russia was “not the best” idea and called on the United States and the European Union to play a direct role in peace talks and to guarantee Ukraine’s sovereignty and independence.

“They (the Russians) will outplay us,” he said. “Putin wants to get his hands on our belly fat.”

The Guardian.

#Russia wins concessions by getting #Ukraine, #EU to delay start of free-trade pact until 2016

by Katya Gorchinskaya.
European Commission president Jose Manuel Barroso speaks to the press following talks with the Ukrainian president in Kyiv on Sept. 12.European Commission president Jose Manuel Barroso speaks to the press following talks with the Ukrainian president in Kyiv on Sept. 12. © AFP

In a concession to Russia, Ukraine and the European Union agreed delay implementation of a major trade agreement until the start of 2016, European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso said. They also appeared to be preparing to make more concessions after the ratification of the agreement, scheduled for next week.

EU Trade Commissioner Karl de Gucht said in Brussels that Ukraine, Russia and EU also agreed on extending unilateral trade preferences for Ukraine until the end of 2015 as well. They allowed Ukraine to boost exports to EU by 14 percent in the first half of this year, Barroso said.

De Gucht said these measures “give breathing space to discuss whatever problem may arise and then it will be up to the three parties concerned to see what they do after Jan. 1, 2016. I hope by then we come to a solution,” Reuters quoted him as saying.

The EU member states are yet to agree to the delayed start, which Barroso called “a compromise” among Ukraine, Russia and EU during trilateral consultations.

The three sides also agreed to continue discussing Russia’s complaints about the effects of the Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Agreement on its markets on Nov. 17, President Petro Poroshenko said in Kyiv. He said the issues will be raised at the Association Council, the only body that can amend the text of the agreement after it is ratified and comes into effect. It was originally designed to fine-tune such agreements.

Both the Ukrainian and the European Parliament are preparing to ratify the Association Agreement, an overarching political agreement, on Sept. 16 in a synchronized session, which will be broadcast via video links, President Poroshenko announced at Yalta European Strategy conference in Kyiv.

“I am sure that will be one of the most important historic moments,” Poroshenko said.Kyiv Post+ offers special coverage of Russia's war against Ukraine and the aftermath of the EuroMaidan Revolution.Kyiv Post+ offers special coverage of Russia’s war against Ukraine and the aftermath of the EuroMaidan Revolution.

The delays are part of Russia’s campaign to thwart Ukraine’s democratic progress and aspirations for closer EU integration, a drive that began after the EuroMaidan Revolution forced President Viktor Yanukovych out of power on Feb. 22. The most extreme aspects, of course, are Russia’s military invasion and annexation of Ukraine’s Crimean peninsula and the Kremlin’s backing of a separatist war in eastern Ukraine. But Russia has also used trade as a weapon and cut off supplies of Russian natural gas to Ukraine while imposing import bans on many Ukrainian products.

The EU-Ukraine trade agreement was signed in June, and the technical preparation for its ratification by the European parliament is being done in record terms – 10 days instead of the usual three months. Its provisional application was supposed to start on Nov. 1, but after the new deal only the political part of the deal will start to work on that date.

A part of the reason for the rush with ratification was to cut time for Russia to bully Ukraine into backing out of the agreement, or amending the text to incorporate Kremlin’s suggestions.

Russia has been trying to derail the Association Agreement between Ukraine and the European Union for years, using increasingly more aggressive tactics, from trade wars to real war in Donbass. It has also threatened to impose additional tariffs and other barriers on Ukraine, allegedly to protect its markets from illegal European goods. Economy Minister Alexei Ulyukayev said on Sept. 12 Russia was preparing a response in case the trade deal comes into effect.

In the meantime, Russia also rolled out close to 2,400 objections and suggested amendments to the Association Agreement, which was initialed and sealed by the government of President Viktor Yanukovych.

Poroshenko said that there will be no changes to the text of the Association Agreement before ratification. However, this might change soon after ratification once the Association Council starts its work.

Although Ukraine’s foreign ministry said that the decision to postpone application of DCFTA was a “gesture of solidarity with Ukraine,” many in Ukraine and abroad saw it as another diplomatic victory by Russia, and feared that more is yet to come at the Nov. 17 Association Council, the body that typically starts to tweak association agreements to fix parts that prove dysfunctional after a year or more in operation. In Ukraine’s case, the first meeting is set just 17 days after the Association Agreement comes into effect.

“We tried to do our best to prevent this scenario, but couldn’t, ” one EU country diplomat said in Kyiv.

(Kyiv Post deputy chief editor Katya Gorchinskaya can be reached at katya.gorchinskaya@gmail.com).

Kyiv Post.

#Russia threatens #Ukraine with import tariffs from November

A Russian woman shops for yogurt in Saint Petersburg on August 7, 2014.A Russian woman shops for yogurt in Saint Petersburg on August 7, 2014. © AFP

(Reuters) – Russia will introduce import tariffs on Ukrainian goods as of Nov. 1 if Kiev proceeds with a trade pact with the European Union, local news agencies cited Economy Minister Alexei Ulyukayev as saying on Sept. 12.

Ukraine is set to ratify a wide-ranging free trade pact with the 28-nation EU that Russia fears will be harmful to its economy.

“If our partners do not listen to us, and consider our arguments unconvincing, then we will take adequate protective measures,” RIA news agency cited Ulyukayev as saying in Brussels.

In August, Russian President Vladimir Putin said the Russian economy could suffer a loss of some 100 billion roubles (£1.6 billion) if European goods reach the Russian market via Ukraine as a result of the Kiev-EU deal.

Timothy Ash, head of emerging market research at Standard Bank, said it was possible steps would be taken to prevent Moscow taking punitive trade action.

“There is still talk of some form of transitional measures which would limit potential opportunity for Russian ‘retaliation’ and cut the Ukrainians as much slack as possible,” he said in a note.

A tug of war between the EU and Russia over Ukraine has contributed to a crisis in the former Soviet republic, which has been battling a pro-Russia separatist insurgency since mid-April.

(Writing by Alessandra Prentice; Editing by Lidia Kelly).


Timothy Ash: Russia does what it wants in its neighborhood #Russia #Ukraine #EuropeanUnion

by Timothy Ash.
Ukrainian servicemen patrol on their APC on September 8, 2014 in Avdeevka, 5 kilometres north of Donetsk . Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko said on Monday that Kiev had managed to Ukrainian servicemen patrol on their APC on September 8, 2014 in Avdeevka, 5 kilometres north of Donetsk. Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko said on Monday that Kiev had managed to “free” 1,200 people taken captive by pro-Russian rebels during their five-month separatist uprising AFP PHOTO/ANATOLII STEPANOV © AFP

The European Union is only really as strong as its weakest link on these kind of things, which frankly makes it very, very weak – with a very clear appearance of dithering and double standards.

Yesterday various EU member states were attempting to deny they were stalling the introduction of the next wave of sanctions, but the reality is that there are more than a handful of countries in the nervous camp, eager not to overly antagonise Russia and thereby damage important business interests.

The above said, where was the US on sanctions yesterday? Seemingly hiding under the EU’s coattails.

Trying to put some logic behind the above.

The EU, and presumably the United States, want to give the current ceasefire a chance to work – albeit note the less- than-encouraging comments from the head of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe,which was the organisation that brokered the ceasefire in the first place in Minsk.

I guess imposing additional sanctions now could enable “unwilling partners” to the peace process to pull back and revert to fighting.

Obviously though the question is when the EU will decide to agree to implement the latest round of sanctions – will they be continuously kicked down the road/delayed?

There is mention of monitoring of the ceasefire terms. I think therein the EU will want to see more of the parts of the 12 point plan implemented, and perhaps particularly, evidence that Russian troops and fighters in Ukraine are pulled back across the border into Russia.

Yesterday what was significant was that Ukraine’s military spokesman, Andriy Lysenko, noted that for the first time in weeks additional Russian troops had not been sent across the border into Ukraine, and this is progress of sorts. That still leaves the question of the estimated 4,000 to perhaps 10,000 Russian fighters and troops actually in Ukraine at present.

Meanwhile, it will be interesting over the next week to see if the European Parliament votes to ratify Ukraine’s association agreement and deep and comprehenseive free trade agreement with the EU – committee members approved its ratification yesterday, but let’s see whether members of the European Parliament get cold feet.

Ratification by the European Parliament would allow provisional implementation pending final ratification in EU 28 parliaments and also by the Rada. There is much talk that if the West is unwilling to give military assistance to Ukraine, then it has to help Ukraine in the economy sphere – well this will be a key test, and remember that the AA/DCFTA started this whole crisis, and ultimately stronger relations with EU, and a move towards Europe is what most Ukrainians want and what they seem willing to fight for.

As if still to underline the strained relations between the West and Russia, note the Financial Times report over Russia trying to get in the way of reverse gas flows to Ukraine, and potentially therein disrupt gas supplies to Europe, or at least reduce these flows so as to ensure that the likes of Poland, Hungary and Slovakia lack sufficient spare gas to supply Ukraine.

And, the spat over the detained Estonian intelligence official by Russia, is continuing.

Cynics would argue that this is Russia just making the point that despite U.S. President Barack Obama’s visit to the region last week, and assurances to countries such as Estonia, NATO’s Article 5 clause does not mean very much in practice, when faced by a determined opponent and weakness in the ranks of both the EU and NATO. The message is meant to be that this is Russia’s backyard and it can do what it wants, when it wants, so you have to negotiate with Moscow.

(Timothy Ash is the head of emerging market research for Standard Bank in London).

Kyiv Post.

#EU holds back on new #Russia #sanctions to assess #ceasefire

A local resident carries a toy bear as a Ukrainian serviceman patrol on Sept. 8, 2014 near a residential building damaged during recent shelling in the Avdeevka, 5 kilometres north of Donetsk © AFP.A local resident carries a toy bear as a Ukrainian serviceman patrol on Sept. 8, 2014 near a residential building damaged during recent shelling in the Avdeevka, 5 kilometres north of Donetsk © AFP.

BRUSSELS (Reuters) – The European Union formally adopted a package of new sanctions against Russia on Monday, but said their entry into force would be delayed to leave time to assess whether a ceasefire in Ukraine is holding.

“The entry into force (of the new sanctions) through the publication in the Official Journal will take place in the next few days. This will leave time for an assessment of the implementation of the ceasefire agreement and the peace plan,” EU Council President Herman Van Rompuy said in a statement.

“Depending on the situation on the ground, the EU stands ready to review the agreed sanctions in whole or in part,” he said.

(Reporting by Adrian Croft; editing by Andrew Roche).

Yahoo Finance.