EU AND US OFFER ‘BIG CARROT’ TO UKRAINE

Daily Telegraph of London on February 3, 2014, reported that Ukraine could be offered a package of financial support by the European Union as a way of enticing them away from Russia. Excerpts below:

But on February 3, 2014, Catherine Ashton – the EU foreign policy chief, who is expected in the Ukranian capital Kiev on February 4 – said that the EU is considering new financial measures to support Ukraine’s troubled economy.

Baroness Ashton said there would be “different stages” of possible support.

“It may be guarantees. It may be the prospect of investment. It may just simply be stability for the currency and so on,” she said.
She told The Wall Street Journal that the EU and US are “developing a plan – a Ukrainian Plan, I have suggested they call it – that looks at what do we need to do in different parts of the economy right now to make things better.”

One senior American official briefed on the discussions called it a “big carrot,” offering Mr Yanukovych an alternative path that could avert further violence and a costly default, and blunt Moscow’s ability to control Ukraine economically and politically.

The idea may prove tempting to Mr Yanukovych, who is in urgent need of financial support.

At the session of parliament on Tuesday, appointing new officials will be his first task. Prime Minister Mykola Azarov stepped down on January 28, under pressure from the protest movement.

Mr Yanukovych is also expected to hold a discussion over constitutional changes, which the opposition hope will weaken the president’s powers.

Arseniy Yatsenyuk, an opposition leader, said on Monday that constitutional change would “cancel the dictatorial powers of the president and transfer the right of governing the country to the Ukrainian people.”

But whether it will be enough to encourage the protesters – who remain barricaded in Kiev’s central Independence Square – to return home remains to be seen. They are still calling for the resignation of Mr Yanukovych.

And one of the most high-profile activists, Dmytro Bulatov – who disappeared and re-emerged last week claiming to have been crucified – said from hospital in Lithuania on Monday that he would continue his fight for democracy.

“Even though he feels almost destroyed physically, his spirit is not broken,” said a spokesman at the hospital in Vilnius.

“As soon as he is able, he will continue on his path, continue the job that he has started and will fight for democracy in Ukraine.”

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