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335 words - September 3, 2013 | © DiploNews, all rights reserved.
"Gas contract with Russia complicates struggle of Ukraine with economic crisis," the Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych said in an interview on August 30. "In conditions of global economic crisis, our struggle with it becomes even more complicated due to the shameful contract signed in 2009," Mr. Yanukovych said in a direct reference to former and currently imprisoned Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko.
Beyond the energy's cost issue, it seems that the relations between Ukraine and Russia have been suffering from growing damage in the last months. With lower growth rate and energy resources for "only" 20 years according to Bloomberg Businessweek, Russia doesn't appear as attractive as it used to be in the previous decade when Gazprom's – the Russian energy giant – value reached a record high of USD 360 billion in 2007, down 74 percent and worth USD 94 billion six years later.
While President Yanukovych had been described as the candidate of Moscow – competing with pro-West Tymoshenko - when he won elections in January 2010, he has finally chosen the developments of relations with the European Union (EU) as the top priority of Ukraine's foreign policy, this way building a step-by-step case for Ukraine's future membership.
The deterioration in relations with Russia has become so acute that it has also affected already fragilized Russia's relations with the EU. "We do not impose any decision on Ukraine," said a Russian official on August 29 in response to EU comments, accusing the recent draft agreement between Ukraine and the EU of planning the "de-industrialization of the Ukrainian economy (…) in fact making it a market for the goods from the EU." In the meantime, the European Parliament debated "Russia's strong-arm tactics" to deter Ukraine from signing theaforesaid agreement with the EU.
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