Tuesday, November 18, 2008

What's up, Ukraine? (8-14 November 2008)

1. The Headless Parliament. Arseniy Yatseniuk is dismissed from the post of Head of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine.
My point of view on a situation you may read in one of my previous posts here.

2. President announces the government change. The results of 4th Baku Energy Summit.
On 13-14 November the President of Ukraine Viktor Yushchenko visited Azerbaijan to take part in 4th Energy Summit. Unfortunately, the main news from the Summit for Ukraine can not be put in frames of energy issues.
In his interview to journalists Yushchenko said that switching of the Odesa-Brody pipeline to avers (forward) mode has been blockading because of political motives. He expressed opinion that such attitude is explained by “political promises and obligations” of the Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko. “The consultations, the Prime Minister had before September in certain capitals and the decisions, the government made after that… blocked transportation of Caspian oil”, the President said.
Viktor Yushchenko also mentioned that “starting from the end of the first half of the 2009, we will be supplied with amounts of oil needed to start the avers mode. I am assured that that time we will have a new Government, which will be able to realise a healthy politics that corresponds to the national interests”.

3. NATO: yes, but not today. On 13 November 2008 the Minister of Defence of Ukraine Yuriy Yekhanurov took part in the high-level NATO-Ukraine meeting in Tallinn, capital of Estonia.
The main conclusion of the Summit: Ukraine has a lot to do before it will be ready to become member of the NATO. Ukraine was hoping to join the bloc’s Membership Action Plan (MAP) at the NATO Summit in December with the US support. But other influential members of NATO (like Germany and France) are thinking that to start the MAP with Russia’s neighbour is not a good idea as for today.
“Let me remind you that at the Bucharest Summit earlier this year, NATO heads of state and government welcomed Ukraine Euro-Atlantic aspirations for membership in NATO and agreed that Ukraine will become a member of the alliance,” stressed NATO secretary general de Hoop Scheffer. US Defense Secretary Robert Gates also emphasiced his country’s support for Georgian and Ukrainian membership. Estonian President Toomas Hendrik Ilves said that “the fact that Ukraine is here today with NATO ministers of defence should convince everyone that NATO understands Ukraine's importance to European security… We should consider how to move beyond the current deadlock over timelines and political symbols.”
So, everyone is thinking positively. It means that Ukraine will become member of NATO in future. May I remind that the EU leaders also promised that Turkey will become member of the European Union. The question is about time-frames. Ukrainian NATO membership bid is really very complicated by internal political crisis and – what is more important – a lack of public support. It seems to me, we do have time to change the situation for better.

4. Holodomor: Distorted History. On 17 November the President of Russian Federation Dmitry Medvedev wrote a letter to the President of Ukraine Viktor Yushchenko.
I’ll just give English translation of the most interesting parts of this letter. No comments:
“In response to your messages concerning the so-called Holodomor as well as the steps taken by the Ukrainian leadership on the issue, I consider it necessary to elaborate on our views of and approaches to the issues at hand. We clearly see that in recent years this topic combined with persistent attempts to receive a NATO «membership action plan», have become a central element of Ukrainian foreign policy.
In our opinion, the tragic events of the early 1930s in Ukraine are being used to achieve immediate short-term political goals.
The famine in the Soviet Union in 1932-1933 was not aimed at the destruction of any one nation. It was the result of a drought, forced collectivization and de-kulakization [campaign of political repressions of the better-off peasants and their families] and affected the entire country, not only Ukraine. Millions of people in the middle and lower Volga regions, northern Caucasus, central Russia, southern Urals, western Siberia, Kazakhstan and Belarus died.
I do not consider it possible to participate in the activities surrounding the 75th anniversary of the «Holodomor» in Ukraine”.
Full text of this letter (translated to English) you may read on the official website of the President of Russia here.

5. Yulia Tymoshenko met George Soros.
As Ukrainian media have informed, on 8 November Prime Minister of Ukraine Yulia Tymoshenko met with famous billionaire George Soros. The meeting took place in Kiev, but not in a center, but in a restaurant near Boryspil airport. Ukrainska Pravda informs that the meeting was confidential, and a role of the interpreter performed the Vice-Prime Minister of Ukraine Hryhoriy Nemyria (who previously worked as a head of Soros Foundation's institution in Ukraine). One of the main reasons of a meeting is future presidential election in Ukraine, journalists think.
President Victor Yushchenko is also tapping the same door. On 14 November we held a phone conversation with the newly elected President of the USA Barack Obama (George Soros was among his financial donors). Victor Yushchenko and Barack Obama agreed to hold a bilateral meeting shortly after the inauguration ceremony of the new President of the USA.

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