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The Mortgaging of Ukraine's Independence

Crowd in Square in Ukraine with Ukrainian Flags, in Front of Building with Gold Onion Dome
[Original of image copyright (c) 2010. RFE/RL, Inc.
Reprinted with the permission of Radio Free Europe/
Radio Liberty, 1201 Connecticut Ave., N.W.
Washington DC 20036]

From: Alex Nice (anice@email.chathamhouse.org.uk)
Sent: 24 August 2010
Subject: Chatham House Publication: The Mortgaging of Ukraine's Independence by James Sherr

Chatham House Briefing Paper
The Mortgaging of Ukraine's Independence
By James Sherr
Head, Russia and Eurasia Programme

Access the full briefing paper here:

Summary Points

In signing the Kharkiv Accords with Russia in April 2010, President Yanukovych compromised important elements of Ukraine's independence for the sake of internal consolidation and short-term economic and political gains. These concessions have increased Russian pressure rather than defused it.

The gas subsidy and the accompanying agreement to prolong the lease of the Black Sea Fleet in Crimea ensure that Ukraine's relations with Russia will continue to be

structured by opaque practices, economic dependency and limited diplomatic and geopolitical options for Ukraine, and make it more difficult to pursue urgent reforms. At the same time Ukraine's security cooperation with NATO has been downgraded, and there are worrying infringements of democratic and civil freedoms.

The European Union, the US and NATO should not confuse respect for Ukraine's sovereign right to choose its political course with indifference to the consequences both for Ukraine and European security. The short-sightedness of Ukraine's current approach will soon become evident to Yanukovych and his advisers.

The EU and international institutions should stand ready to offer a convincing package of alternatives. At present, however, the US and Europe lack a clear definition of interests vis-à-vis Ukraine, a set of concrete aspirations and a strategy for promulgating and realizing them.

The IMF has set a model of tough but constructive conditionality that others should follow. Above all, the EU should consider offering Ukraine a long-term membership perspective on a similar tightly conditional basis and revise its position on visa liberalization.


Keywords: Georgia, Russian Issues, Russia, Johnson's Russia List, Russia News

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