Monday

27th Jun 2022

Ukraine EU future in doubt as pro-Russia leader takes over

Ukraine president Viktor Yushchenko has nominated his pro-Russian arch-rival Viktor Yanukovych as prime minister, in a move that could cause problems for the country's pro-EU and NATO orientation in the coming years.

"A pact is to be signed that will determine the main lines of Ukraine's domestic and foreign policy, in which the western course is guaranteed," Mr Yushchenko said while announcing his decision at 02:00 local time on Thursday 3 August, the BBC reports.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Become an expert on Europe

Get instant access to all articles — and 20 years of archives. 14-day free trial.

... or subscribe as a group

  • Yanukovych - the blue counter-revolution is making its mark (Photo: www.ya2006.com.ua)

Ukraine's parliament - the Verkhovna Rada - will vote on the appointment later today with a new cabinet likely to be named before the weekend, comprising members from Mr Yanukovych and Mr Yushchenko's political parties.

The appointment marks a historic reversal for the Orange Revolution movement that took power in November 2004 after Mr Yanukovych won presidential elections amid widespread accusations of vote-rigging.

Mr Yanukovych - whose supporters carry blue flags and have camped out in front of parliament for the past few weeks - is popular in the Russian-speaking southeast of the country and won "free and fair" parliamentary elections on 26 March.

Ukrainian diplomats in Brussels have given reassurances that Ukraine will stay on the path of EU integration no matter who becomes prime minister during the coalition-forming wranglings of the past four months.

But some analysts - such as the Georgian ambassador to the EU Salome Samadashvili - believe Brussels should be worried by the advent of Yanukovych, who built his campaign around anti-NATO sentiment with anti-EU undertones.

"If the government changes, the Ukrainian embassy [in Brussels] could soon begin receiving different instructions," Ms Samadashvili said two weeks ago.

Polish president Lech Kaczynski remained optimistic however, reacting to the events by saying "Ukrainian democracy is relatively young and the situation is complicated...in our opinion, Ukraine's pro-western course won't alter."

The Yanukovych deal could improve Kiev's relations with Moscow at a time when the country's Russian gas price arrangements remain up in the air, with the financial markets reacting calmly to the news.

The move leaves Orange Revolution heroine Yulia Tymoshenko - who had called for parliament to be dissolved and for a fresh round of elections - out in the cold.

Opinion

Expect Czech EU presidency to downgrade V4 priorities

The Czech Republic is already in the throes of an extremely difficult period — several waves of Covid, high inflation, energy fears, an influx of Ukrainian refugees and a Prague corruption scandal. Now it has the EU presidency.

Agenda

G7, Nato, gas anxiety and Ukraine top This WEEK

EU energy ministers and environment ministers are expected to reach common positions on different aspects of the Fit for 55 package — as the continent is increasingly worried about energy prices and future supplies.

Agenda

G7, Nato, gas anxiety and Ukraine top This WEEK

EU energy ministers and environment ministers are expected to reach common positions on different aspects of the Fit for 55 package — as the continent is increasingly worried about energy prices and future supplies.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersEmerging journalists from the Nordics and Canada report the facts of the climate crisis
  2. Council of the EUEU: new rules on corporate sustainability reporting
  3. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic ministers for culture: Protect Ukraine’s cultural heritage!
  4. Reuters InstituteDigital News Report 2022
  5. EFBWW – EFBH – FETBBHow price increases affect construction workers
  6. Nordic Council of MinistersNew Nordic think tank examines influence of tech giants

Latest News

  1. Expect Czech EU presidency to downgrade V4 priorities
  2. Big polluters should have no role in planning EU energy policy
  3. G7, Nato, gas anxiety and Ukraine top This WEEK
  4. Death toll rising after thousands storm Spain's wall in Africa
  5. EU summit's uncertainty in the face of economic war
  6. Next winter's gas looms large at EU summer summit
  7. Ukraine becomes EU candidate after 120 days of war
  8. How to enhance EU cybersecurity

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us