EU Tables Talks with Ukraine as Demonstrators Barricade Kiev

December 16, 2013 08:37 AM

riot police 2 l[1]

Officials from the European Union have tabled integration talks with Ukrainian President Yanukovych. That Former Soviet nation has been in turmoil since November 21 when Yanukovych revealed that he was unwilling to sign the Association Agreement with the EU. Pro-European protesters, which comprise 53% of Ukrainians recently surveyed, took to the streets and barricaded the sentimental and administrative heart of Kiev, Independence Square.

Riot police attempted to disband the protests on November 30 and the confrontation turned bloody when dozens of demonstrators were wounded. The police have since retreated, advanced and retreated again more than once, prompting protesters to barricade the Square.

Several foreign dignitaries have made trips to Kiev in an effort to persuade Yanukovych to rethink his position. EU foreign policy chief Catherine Anderson, Senators John Kerry and John McCain and others have all shown up to support the pro-European demonstrators.

Yanukovych has a visit to Moscow with stops in Putin's office planned later this week and many believe those talks are geared toward integrating Ukraine into Russia's Customs Union. The official line from the Yanukovych administration holds that the meeting is not related to the Customs Union.

independence square on sunday lAs Yanukovych leans suspiciously toward Russia, the voice of the pro-EU movement in Ukraine is holding firm and remains barricaded in Independence Square. So far Ukrainian nitrogen production is unaffected by the unrest, but if Yanukovych and Putin opt to rewrite Ukraine's export playbook, the swing production out of Ukraine that has helped balance global stocks could operate under the authority of Russia's Customs Union, rather than the European Union.

Observers are confused by Yanukovych's behavior. The conversation with the European Union was started years ago and the EU is overtly unhappy with the Yanukovych administration and its waffling back-and-forth between a return to a unified Soviet Bloc and western reforms as outlined by the EU. The people are clearly in favor of closer ties with the EU, but Yanukovych's failure to ink a deal may already have put EU integration out of reach for the citizens of Ukraine.

Photo credit: mac_ivan / / CC BY

Photo credit: mac_ivan / / CC BY

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