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Brussels Slaps the Ukraine on the Wrist, Cancels Visit

The EU voiced its displeasure with the Ukraine by cancelling Yanukovych's visit.
By Aryeh ben Hayim
First Publish: 10/18/2011, 9:23 PM

The EU played the only card in its hands to express displeasure about the jailing of Ukrainian opposition leader Yuliya Tymoshenko.

Brussels announced that President Viktor Yanukovych's Thursday's visit had been postponed until the conditions were "more conducive to making progress on the bilateral relations".

Tymoshenko was jailed for seven years for exceeding her powers in a 2009 gas deal with Russia.The EU says her trial was politically motivated to get her out of the way before the next elections.

Yanukovych was defiant. "I'm not going to ask any favours. We [Ukraine and the EU] are partners. If there is a need to meet - I'm ready.

With the European track temporarily sidelined, Yanukovych welcomed Russian President Dmitry Medvedev for energy talks. The two leaders met in Yanukovych's pro-Russian industrial power base of Donetsk to discuss regional cooperation. 

Energy was high on the agenda, otherwise Medvedev would not have been accompanied by Alexei Miller, chief executive of gas giant Gazprom.

Russia  has tried to entice Kiev by offering cut rate gas in exchange for Ukraine's promise of tighter cooperation with Russia in the form of a customs union that would rule out the EU option.

As opposed to the EU, Medvedev would not mix into Ukrainian judicial proceedings and recognized "Ukraine's national sovereignty with regard to all the decisions made by the Ukrainian authorities, including judicial ones, meaning the independence of the court…To sum up, such is my attitude toward the well-known trial, along with understanding that this is Ukraine's internal affair,"