Analysts: Yanukovych stubbornly on track to isolation


  President Yanukovych has for a long time now not made official visits to EU countries, and Brussels and Washington are waiting for the parliamentary elections to determine future relations with Kyiv.

Relations between Ukraine and Europe cannot be called warm. The question of Kyiv’s prospects for European integration, the EU-Ukraine Association Agreement and even the traditional annual EU-Ukraine summit are all now in the air.

To some extent the situation is the same as regards relations with the USA.  During Yanukovych’s vist to the USA to take part in the UN General Assembly Meeting from 24-26 September no official visits with President Obama were scheduled. This is despite a request for such a meeting from the Ukrainian side. The President’s Press Service informs only of a short chat between Yanukovych and Obama before the beginning of a reception to mark the opening of the 67th session of the UN General Assembly.

European politicians and analysts say that it’s too early to speak officially of Yanukovych’s isolation at international level, however he is moving in that direction. Olha Shumylo-Taliola from the Brussels Office of the Carnegie Centre speaks of “extreme weariness”.  Although there is no formal isolation, the West does not see any particular point in meeting with Yanukovych. She says that they have made their position clear regarding undemocratic developments In Ukraine “therefore there’s no sense continuing these conversations if there is no change”.

Oleksy Melnyk from the Razumkov Centre says that the level and frequency of Yanukovych’s international visits “shows that this is already clearly some kind of first stage of what can be called international isolation”.

Elmar Brok, Head of the EP Committee on Foreign Affairs says that “the more Yanukovych uses the law as a political instrument, the more he prevents the opposition from taking part in the elections, the more opponents of the regime are in prison or are subjected to tax checks, the harder it becomes to have conversations with him”.

Yanukovych’s trip to the USA comes just after the Senate Resolution on Ukraine which demands Yulia Tymoshenko’s release.  The document which is advisory nature also calls for visa restrictions against those implicated in her imprisonment.  Oleksy Melnyk says that the harsh wording of the resolution suggests that the next step will be real sanctions, if not against Yanukovych himself, then against immediate associates.  Ukraine’s Foreign Ministry called the resolution “hard to take seriously” and claimed that the process of passing it was “dubious”. Melnyk calls the response feeble and says that the best reaction would have been “to swallow this bitter pill”.

From a report here

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