Russia’s role in the Ukraine election is getting a hard look at a European summit in The Hague. President Vladimir Putin was welcomed to the Dutch seat of government by Prime Minister Jan Peter Balkenende. The Netherlands currently holds the EU’s rotating presidency. Russia has accused Europe of meddling and inciting violence in the former Soviet republic.
Formal congratulations from the Kremlin to the incumbent in Kiev were sent today, while Putin was on EU soil. But Moscow had told the incumbent ‘well done’ even before he was officially declared the victor. The EU has called on Ukrainian authorities to investigate complaints about the elections. EU-Russia consultations on foreign policy subjects have not been going well. The Russians keep sending back EU proposals with parts cut out — on democratic principles and human rights, for example. Analysts say that despite a wish for closer ties with the EU, the Kremlin has found the process humiliating. Russia sees Ukraine as part of a strategic buffer zone. At the summit, there was little sign of the Dutch national colour, orange; That is also the colour of the opposition in Ukraine.