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9 April, 2013 10:40   ▪  

Business New Europe: nothing will happen in the talks with EU until Tymoshenko is released – and that is very unlikely to happen

“The pardons are certainly good signs, but while they might halt the deterioration in relations with the EU, the talks on the EU trade deal remain at an impasse,” claims Business New Europe.

“Nothing will happen in the talks until Tymoshenko is released – and that is very unlikely to happen. The clock on the trade talks was ticking so Yanukovych probably had to do something. At a recent summit in Brussels, the EU set a May deadline to show some progress or else abandon its hopes for tighter relations with the EU. However, the EU only asked to see "progress" and not a resolution to the outstanding problems, so Yanukovych is probably hoping this gesture will placate the EU enough to stave off a firm rejection of the country's aspirations to move closer to the EU,” writes BNE.

“The pardon was announced ahead of a protest in Kyiv that saw 7,000 people take to the streets, according to Kyiv Post reporters at the scene. The police said only 2,000 protestors turned out. Ukraine's opposition leaders, including boxing champion Vitaly Klitschko and nationalist Oleg Tyagnybok, turned out to call for Yanukovych's resignation. The pardons are thus probably more about tactics than part of a wider strategy. An IMF team is in Kyiv to restart a stalled $15bn stand-by agreement deal and some have taken this weekend's pardons as a sign that a deal with the IMF is close,” comments BNE.

READ ALSO: Tactics Without a Strategy

“However, Yanukovych's form is to muddy the waters as much as possible as part of efforts to muddle through. Caught between Moscow and Brussels, Ukraine finds each have unpleasant strings attached to their help: Brussels is demanding Kyiv conclude a deal with the IMF first that includes hiking domestic gas tariffs; Moscow wants Ukraine to join the Customs Union, which would exclude it from a free trade deal with Europe.

The next stage in Tymoshenko's fight will come from the Strasbourg-based European Court of Human Rights, which is due to hear her case in the coming months. If it rules that her arrest was politically motivated, this will only pile more pressure on Yanukovych,” adds BNE. 

READ ALSO: The Lutsenko Pardon: Enough to Appease the EU?

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