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ECR

Yanukovich told: The world is watching you

3 December 2013

Yanukovich told: The world is watching you

Charles Tannock, ECR foreign affairs spokesman in the European Parliament, spoke out today in response to the ongoing anti-Government demonstrations in Kiev.

Charles Tannock, ECR foreign affairs spokesman in the European Parliament, spoke out today in response to the ongoing anti-Government demonstrations in Kiev.

The London MEP said the use of force against protesters was utterly unacceptable. Instead the Government should investigate who gave the order for the police brutality which has actually escalated the pro EU protestors taking to the streets in their 100s of thousands, reminiscent of the Orange Revolution which toppled Yanukovich’s then claim to the Presidency in 2004.

Dr Tannock said: “It is a matter of deep regret that President Viktor Yanukovich’s decided last week in Vilnius not to sign the comprehensive free-trade agreement with the EU which was on offer.

Influenced by Russian bullying, which sought to undermine Ukraine’s sovereign right to determine its own geopolitical future as well as to restrict Ukrainian exports to Russia, and in clear violation of Russia’s WTO undertakings, he threw away at a stroke the opportunity for his country to transcend its tortured history. He could have set a course for democracy, open and clean government, western trade and more prosperity by unblocking IMF loans and having immediate access to EU markets. Instead, it seems , he decided to throw his country’s lot in with Russia and to have his people dance to Vladimir Putin’s tune which seeks to incorporate Ukraine in the Russian dominated Eurasian Economic Union eventually. This was clear from Yanukovich’s refusal to release Yulia Tymoshenko and inability to do anything to reduce the culture of corruption in public life.

“The huge number of demonstrators on the streets of Kiev show that for very many in Ukraine he took the wrong decision. He must not be tempted to cow them with continued violence or we will see a bloodbath if matters escalate further. During the Orange Revolution President Kuchma refused to his credit at the time to allow a violent repression of the peaceful demonstrators in Kiev’s Maidan Square.

“It is vital that a peaceful solution be found instead and that must involve listening to the will of the people of Ukraine.

“The door is still open to an agreement with the EU well before the scheduled Presidential election in 2015. President Yanukovich should be aware that the world is watching him and he should walk through that door, not slam it shut because Russia has told him to do so.

“I shall be calling for the crisis in Ukraine to be debated as an urgency when the Parliament sits in Strasbourg next week.”

Dr Charles Tannock visited Ukraine with an ECR delegation 3 weeks ago as ECR Foreign Affairs Coordinator and is a former Vice President of the EP Ukraine delegation and deputy head of the election observation mission during the Presidential election in 2004-5 which sparked the Orange Revolution. He has written extensively over the years on Ukraine and was decorated with the Order of Merit of Ukraine by President Yushchenko in2006 for services to Ukrainian democracy.

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