Ukraine’s new President Viktor Yanukovich says he will lead a “neutral non-aligned European state” for his five-year term.
He says he wants equally important relations with Brussels and Moscow, and he will be going west to the EU’s administrative headquarters for his first overseas trip as head of state.
However Yanukovic is a pure product of Soviet-era politics, and is reputedly pro-Russian. He says he wants geography to play a role in Ukraine’s future, straddling east and west, Europe and Asia. Just what are the stakes involved in the political tug-of-war that has made a rope of Ukraine?
For the EU encouraging prosperity and stability in a nearby state is part of its European Neighbourhood Policy, and the EU is keen to ensure safe and regular supplies of gas via Ukraine.
Moscow will be keen to prevent co-operation going too deep, into NATO membership for example.