Interfax: EU is in “tactical” split over Ukraine – Russian MP

Alexei Pushkov file photo

MOSCOW. Dec 17 (Interfax) – The European Union is divided over the issue of signing the Association Agreement with Ukraine, but the EU is unanimous in its call for the resignation of Ukraine’s current leadership, Alexei Pushkov, chairman of the State Duma Foreign Affairs Committee, told Interfax on Monday.

“The impression is that a certain split is obvious within the EU,” he said.

The Brussels bureaucracy, including EU Commissioner for Enlargement and EU Neighborhood Policy Stefan Fule, have chosen to ignore the Ukrainian government, claiming that they will not hold any more talks on the Association Agreement with Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych, Pushkov said.

According to the Russian parliamentarian, this position stems from the Ukrainian government’s demand that the EU, apart from signing the Association Agreement, should also consider granting Kyiv substantial financial aid, which will allow Ukraine to pay off its debts and feel more secure in terms of finances.

At the moment, the Association Agreement does not envisage this extensive support for Ukraine, Pushkov said.

“Some European politicians refuse to accept these Ukrainian demands,” he said.

The EU foreign policy chief, Baroness Catherine Ashton, and some other political figures are pursuing a different policy in the EU, he said.

“They believe that the door should be kept open both for Ukraine and for the signing of the Association Agreement, which may be signed even in a modified form, taking some of Ukraine’s wishes into consideration, because, otherwise, Ukraine will sign a strategic cooperation treaty with Russia and may received this badly needed financial support from Russia,” Pushkov said.

These two positions can be seen clearly in European officials’ statements today, he said.

“My feeling is that there is no unity in Brussels, which lacks any clear understanding as to what to do with Ukraine and strongly fears that Kyiv may sign an association deal with Russia, which would allow Ukraine to emerge from its dire financial situation. In this case, the European Union’s influence will naturally decline,” the Russian parliamentarian said.

Pushkov, however, admitted that these differences are tactical.

“In my opinion, the EU has already made its strategic choice in favor of weakening Yanukovych’s government, supporting his opponents, directly participating in the internal political struggle in Ukraine and working together with the United States to push for a replacement of Ukraine’s current leadership by a new one, which, in effect, would be a puppet regime installed by Western countries,” Pushkov said.

All EU political figures share this opinion, he added.