Poroshenko says Ukrainians at risk of losing faith in EU path

Petro Poroshenko in Brussels, 11 November 2016. [European Union]

Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko said yesterday (16 January) Ukrainians risked becoming disillusioned with Ukraine’s pro-European path if there are further delays to plans to cement its closer integration with the European Union.

The European Union reached an agreement on visa waivers for Ukraine in December, after weeks of stalling, but the decision has yet to come into effect.

Hurdle cleared to visa-free EU travel for Ukraine, Georgia

EU negotiators said Thursday (8 December) they have resolved an internal row that had delayed visa-free travel to Europe for Ukrainians and Georgians.

“To delay further would be flagrantly unfair as Ukraine has paid a high price,” Poroshenko told foreign ambassadors to Ukraine.

“It would also be dangerous because more unreasonable delays would undermine Ukrainians’ faith in Europe, which in fact is what Russia is aiming for,” he said, adding that Ukraine’s EU association agreement also needed to be legally ratified.

EU summit extends Russia sanctions for six months, reassures Dutch over Ukraine deal

EU heads of state and government agreed tonight (15 December) to roll over sanctions against Russia over its actions in the Ukraine for a further six months, ticking off one element of an otherwise problematic and late-running summit.

Delays have raised criticism that the bloc was reneging on pledges to help Ukraine as it seeks to move away from Moscow’s orbit in the wake of its 2013-14 pro-European uprising that ousted a Kremlin-backed president.

Tusk: EU's credibility at risk over Ukraine visa debate

The European Union is putting its credibility and reputation at risk by letting internal political wrangling stall a promised easing of visa requirements for Ukraine and Georgia, the head of the European Council said.

After the change in power, Russia annexed Ukraine’s Crimea peninsula and is accused by Kyiv and NATO of fuelling an ongoing pro-Russian separatist conflict in eastern Ukraine in which close to 10,000 people have been killed.

“We are all witnesses to efforts to build a new iron curtain and it is today’s Russia that is building it,” Poroshenko said.

His comments follow a final visit to Kyiv by US Vice President Joe Biden, who called for the international community to stand up to “coercion and aggression” from Russia.

Trump’s Russia policy looms large over EU-Ukraine summit

The EU-Ukraine 18th summit to be held on Thursday (24 November) is expected to discuss the consequences of an expected distancing of Washington from Kyiv, and the need for Brussels to do more in assisting the pro-Western government of President Petro Poroshenko.

Western support for Ukraine has contributed to a deterioration in relations with Russia to their worst point since the Cold War.

Trump’s open admiration of Russian President Vladimir Putin and stated desire to improve bilateral ties have stoked fears in Kyiv that international resolve to hold Russia to account could waver.

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