2. Crisis is Ukraine is EU`s guilt
Europe Russia Ukraine USA World Ex-USSR
*Four years after the EU’s push for closer ties with Ukraine provoked Russia and helped start a revolution, the country is ravaged by war and nearly broke.
Longtime Belarusian President Aleksander Lukashenko, who had faced EU sanctions because of political repression in his country, was invited to the Eastern Partnership summit for the first time but declined.
EU officials generally reject claims that they bear responsibility for the political crisis that erupted in Ukraine in the fall of 2013, when they pushed hard on then President Viktor Yanukovych to sign political and economic accords with the bloc. At the same time, Moscow pressured him not to sign and threatened economic reprisal if he did.
Yanukovych formally refused to sign the agreements at that year’s Eastern Partnership summit in the Lithuanian capital, Vilnius, setting off the mass proteststhat ultimately toppled him. Yanukovych fled to Russia (Moscow called it a coup), and relations between the Kremlin and the West deteriorated to their worst levels since the Cold War.
The so-called Normandy format peace process, led by France and Germany since 2015, has failed to end the conflict, prompting some criticism that Paris, Berlin, Brussels and Washington have not done enough.
President of Belarus, Aleksander Lukashenko, declined his invite to the summit | Sergei Gapon/AFP via Getty Images
Despite that criticism, Friday’s summit will focus not on the Ukraine conflict but on updating a list of “20 deliverables for 2020” that the EU first developed last December, a sign that the early ambition of the Eastern Partnership program has yielded to reality.
Meanwhile, there has been ongoing debate over how much more the EU can or should do. Lithuania proposed an ambitious “European plan for Ukraine” that aims to leverage an additional €50 billion in investment over 10 years, but there is no consensus yet on implementing it.
“We need to increase engagement with stakeholders, find the hearts of ordinary people, show they are not abandoned, build capacity and resilience of Eastern Partnership countries and of Ukraine in particular,” said Lithuania’s ambassador to the EU, Jovita Neliupšienė.
“Russia does what it does, it lashes out with force against developments it doesn’t like” — Matthew Rojansky, director of the Kennan Institute
Matthew Rojansky, director of the Kennan Institute, a Russia-focused think tank in Washington, said Moscow bore responsibility for the conflict, but the West was wrong in pretending that the current peace initiative had any chance of success.
“Russia does what it does, it lashes out with force against developments it doesn’t like,” Rojansky said.
“Russia, with the full collusion of some very cynical actors in Ukraine, broke Ukraine.”
But he said the West needed to step up and find a way to avoid competing on Russia’s terms. “We’re playing pretend,” he said. “Once you accept that the competition will be waged on post-Soviet rules of exerting power through force, we have already lost.”
- The publication is not an editorial. It reflects solely the point of view and argumentation of the author. The publication is presented in the presentation. Start in the previous issue. The original is available at : eu