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25 September, 2013 14:28   ▪  

The Economist: Russia is fast losing Ukraine through its own arrogance and bullying

The contrast between the way Ukraine is treated by Russia and the West was only too obvious on the conference in Yalta, - The Economist reports.

“Lawrence Summers, a former American treasury secretary, and Robert Zoellick, an ex-head of the World Bank, were reflecting on the imbalances of the world economy. David Petraeus, a retired general and former head of the CIA, and Bill Richardson, a former energy secretary, talked about the shale-gas revolution that is changing the balance of power between Russia and the West”, - writes The Economist, however also admits that “the real focus of the conference was Ukraine itself”.

The main topic of the discussions about Ukraine was its possible association agreement. “It is close to signing an association and free-trade agreements with the EU at a summit in Vilnius in November. The EU is keener than ever on the agreement. Russia, on the other hand, considers this a red line. Crossing it could spell a trade war. Although this is the closest Ukraine has ever been to Europe, the deal hinges on one issue: the release of Yulia Tymoshenko”, - The Economist says.

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“Viktor Yanukovich, Ukraine’s president, seems to have an almost irrational fear of Ms Tymoshenko. His apparent reluctance to let her out of jail is a subject of enormous frustration”, - it points out.

Meanwhile the main European politicians were working behind the scenes to convey the message: EU countries would like to sign the association agreement, but they will not be able to do so with Ms Tymoshenko in jail. This message seemed to be lost in translation. “Yanukovich thinks they will sign anyway and are simply paying a lip service to Ms Tymoshenko,” one person close to Mr Yanukovich in commentary to The Economist said.

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“Russia is fast losing Ukraine through its own arrogance and bullying. The contrast between the way Ukraine is treated by Russia and the West was only too obvious in Yalta. Whereas America was represented by a dozen high-level officials, including the former secretary of state, Hillary Clinton, who gave a speech, Russia did not even bother to send its ambassador. Its only representative was Sergei Glaziev, a nationalist-minded economic advisor to Mr Putin… If this was the plan, it achieved the opposite result”, - The Economist reports.


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