Ukraine keeps East-West diplomatic tension high

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Ukraine keeps East-West diplomatic tension high

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Tensions have increased in East-West diplomacy over the deadly violence in Ukraine.

In Berlin, Chancellor Angela Merkel reiterated clearly her support for peaceful protests in Ukraine.

Referring to the resolute opposition, she told parliament: “They are fighting for the same values that guide the European Union; that is why they must be listened to. As for the signing of the Association Agreement between the EU and Ukraine, the door is still open.”

The West wants democratic ideals and trade interests safe-guarded in Ukraine, and also military ones. NATO plays a role in securing the EU’s eastern borders.

In Washington, President Barack Obama also stood up for democracy in the heart of Europe.

“In Ukraine, we stand for the principle that all people have the right to express themselves freely and peacefully, and to have a say in their country’s future.”

Since Ukraine’s political upheaval began in November, there has been a chorus of Western disapproval levelled at Moscow for what the West perceives as pressure exerted on Kiev to remain within Russia’s sphere of influence.

Former German foreign minister Guido Westerwelle showed up at demonstrations in Kiev, as did US Senator John McCain and a foreign policy official in the State Department.

This week in Brussels, President Vladimir Putin made clear what he though of this sort of appearance.

Here was the official translation: “I can only imagine what reaction there would be from our European partners if, in the midst of a crisis in Greece or any other country, our foreign minister came to an anti-European rally and urged people to do something. This would not be very good. Considering the specifics of our relationship between Russia and Ukraine, this is simply unacceptable and impossible for us.”

Putin has insisted that Kiev will get an eleven billion euro aid package, as he promised, and a special price on gas; his cabinet has suggested that Russia wait for the formation of a new government in Ukraine before handing it over.