Opposition MPs in Ukraine are up in arms over the suspension of negotiations on a trade pact with the European Union, just a week before it was due to be signed.
An order issued by Ukrainian Prime Minister Mykola Azarov stated that talks on the long-planned Association Agreement with the EU were to be halted, adding that Kyiv would focus on strengthening economic ties with Moscow.
Vitali Klitschko, leader of the UDAR party told euronews: “Prime Minister Azarov’s declaration completely contradicts his previous declarations and those of President Viktor Yanukovich concerning European integration.”
“This means that they have messed us about – or, to tell the truth, they lied to heads of state, to the international community and to Ukrainians,” Klitschko continued.
Ukrainian Vice Prime Minister Yuri Boiko said that the suspending the deal made economic sense, telling a press conference: “We did not get a reassuring message from our European partners.”
“We were not convinced that the losses in our commercial relations with Russia – which we’ve been suffering over the last four months – would be balanced by the future sales of our products in European markets,” Boiko continued.
Euronews correspondent Sergio Cantone reported from Kyiv that the decision has been a “huge disappointment” for Western diplomats and that the “over-riding feeling” was that it was “a huge victory for Russia, as Ukraine distances itself from the EU.”