Twenty years after the collapse of the Soviet Union, Ukraine is slipping back under Kremlin control. Ukraine’s shock decision to opt for Vladimir Putin’s Russia and pull out of EU talks on the eve of an historic deal is a dramatic upset to the European balance of power.
It is the first major defeat for the EU in its eastward march since the fall of Communism. While the region’s geo-politics remain fluid, the upset may prove as fateful as the move by the Kossack chief Bohdan Khmelnytsky to turn his back on the West and accept Tsarist suzerainty in the 1640s.
“Ukraine’s government suddenly bowed deeply to the Kremlin. The politics of brutal pressure evidently work,” said Sweden’s foreign minister Karl Bildt.
Ukraine’s prime minister, Mykola Azarov, told Ukraine’s parliament that the country has been forced to cancel its trade and pre-accession deal with the EU because Russian sanctions are strangling the economy, “pushing Ukraine to the brink of a huge social crisis.” (more…)