Putin meets Ukrainian President in Moscow-“No closed issues” still though smells like “August 2008”

Viktor Yanukovych, Vladimir Putin

Russian President Vladimir Putin is on a visit to Ukraine today meeting his Ukrainian counterpart, Victor Yanukovich, a man who has been repeatedly characterized as far too “pro-Russian”. Yanukovich’s position was taken after the Orange Revolution by Victor Yaschenko, who along with his prime Minister-now in jail-Yulia Timoshenko were installed as pro-Western leaders. Things, though, changed along with the other leaders of the states which were at the center of the so called “colored revolutions”. Yaschenko lost the elections in 2009, Yanukovich became president and Timoschenko ended up in prison, as she was deemed responsible for the “rip-off” agreement she signed with Putin (then Prime Minister), which makes natural gas’s price supplied to Ukraine far more expensive than the administration is willing to pay. This story, though, is both long and far more complicated than it is presented, “in a nutshell”, as Yulia Timoshenko had no choice but to sign anything put on the table by Gazprom, as the “Energy giant” had halted the gas supplies to Ukraine, and-then-by consequence to the whole Europe. It was a series of serious repercussions which targeted not only Ukraine and its pro-Western President Yashenko but the EU as a Western body, which stood by Saakashvili’s side in the 2008 Russian-Georgian war.

The relations between Ukraine and Russia have never been “excellent” or at least comparable to those Russia has with Kazakhstan and Belarus. Ukrainian MPs don’t hesitate to “punch each other” in the parliament over issues which are considered anti-patriotic and already Yanukovich has crossed this line many times. The last time was when he passed on a bill, which was voted, making Russian the official language of the Country in 13 out of 27 districts, allowing at the same time other languages to “float around” leaving it up to the people to decide in which language their education will be carried out. That said, there is not much Yanukovich can do, although supposedly pro-Russian, in a country where a profound “hate” against Russian, since Stalin’s time, is prevalent.

“There are no closed issues. We have signed an agreement on the free trade zone. Concerning Ukraine’s membership in the Customs Union, Ukrainian experts think GDP will grow 1.5 percent to 6.5 percent if Ukraine joins the Customs Union. This will depend on the depth of integration”, President Putin stated, however this might be Putin’s most important meeting so far, as it will define the peace or non-peace status in Eurasia. Ukraine has proclaimed a course of strategic EU integration and the memberships of the Customs Union cannot be full, but neither can Ukraine “step on two boats”. The Country plans to sign an Association Agreement with the EU in late 2013, a fact which was reaffirmed during the 16th EU-Ukraine summit in Brussels.

Should this happen, all hell will break loose, as Russia has repeatedly discouraged any EU or NATO further expansion in the ex USSR area of influence, this is probably the greatest reason behind Russia’s harsh reaction in 2008. Ukraine has been one of the reasons why Russia and Germany have not strengthened their ties, especially since Putin got reelected, one year ago. Some possible scenarios best case or worst case will be mentioned below, taking into account Russia’s solid stance on certain issues

  • Russia invades Ukraine in a similar to 2008 way
  • Russia pushes for referendum in those regions that are made up of a vast majority of Russian citizens such as Crimea for example, and subsequently “mutilates” the country by annexing those territories.
  • Along with pushing through the second option, Russia makes its presence in the Balkans even more intense. There will be no more talks of “The Great Albania” and Kossovo (at least its part where populated by Serbians mostly) is re-annexed to Belgrade.
  • Again, the two previous ones, plus the SouthEastern Mediterranean sea becomes a “Russian lake” with the majority of the natural resources exploited by Russian companies.

Some may argue that all of the above are “impossible”, yet nothing is impossible in the post-2008 period where peace is more fragile than ever. The certain thing is that there will be further and very serious geographical and geopolitical alterations sometime in the near future!

Source: http://www.defensehorizon.com affiliated website!

Note: DefenseHorizon is affiliated to Focus Dynamics Research Center! Our analyst, Alexandros Boufesis has agreed on posting his reviews on both sites, one of which (DefenseHorizon) contains primarily his work along with a space news sector!

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