The new Ukrainian president Viktor Yanukovych used his first inauguration speech to announce that the country want a “non-aligned” relationship with the European Union. Observers belive Ukraine will drop its plans to apply for full E.U. membership.
“In the minds of Ukrainian politicians it’s clear that joining the EU is not an option in the foreseeable future.”
“Ukraine needs the EU in a global dimension, as a power to guarantee a peaceful coexistence of different civilizations and safety in the spheres of energy, environment and food,” Yanukovych said in Kiev Saturday.
“We are prepared to take part in such processes as a non-aligned state,”
he said, according to Bloomberg News.
Several European observers and commentators see the president’s remarks as another signal that the Eastern
European state will not join NATO
and E.U. after all.
The former president Viktor Yushchenko
, who defeated Yanukovych in 2004, targeted NATO membership and joining the EU to help free Ukraine from Russian influence.
The Kremlin curbed natural-gas deliveries to Ukraine in 2006 and 2009, withheld a new ambassador to Kiev and accused Yushchenko of supplying arms to Georgia during Russia
’s war with its southern neighbor in August 2008.
But Yanukovych, on the other hand, signaled in his election campaign that he’s to seek closer ties with Russia.
“In the minds of Ukrainian politicians it’s clear that joining the EU is not an option in the foreseeable future. The EU hasn’t been very keen to offer enlargement. But the Ukrainians do want a free trade agreement.”