Ukraine’s parliament has failed again to break the deadlock over jailed opposition leader Yulia Tymoshenko and a landmark trade deal with the EU, as a tug of war between Europe and Russia over the country’s direction intensifies.
The speaker has announced a new debate for Thursday, November 21 after the ruling party and opposition MPs could not agree on a crucial draft law for the second time in a week.
Supporters of President Victor Yanukovich are annoyed at the EU’s insistence on Tymoshenko’s temporary release for hospital treatment in Germany as a condition for the proposed trade agreement.
With time running out before it is due to be signed in Lithuania at the end of the month, the presence of European Commissioner Štefan Füle in Kyiv (Kiev) prompted Russia to accuse the EU of putting “unforgivable pressure” on Ukraine.
There is increasing speculation that Kyiv may put off signing a deal with the EU to avoid a trade war with Moscow.
The Kremlin, which wants Ukraine to join a Moscow-led customs union has hinted at retaliatory action if Kyiv goes through with the trade deal.