With two of its eastern regions on the verge of breaking away after hastily-organised and contestable referenda Ukraine received a boost on Monday with the visit of the EU’s president, and today the entire Kyiv government decamps to Brussels to discuss the embattled nation’s future.
“The holding of free and fair elections on the 25th of May will be an important step to overcome the crisis. I urge all political actors to fully support the process. There must no outside interference,” said Herman Van Rompuy.
Van Rompuy said the EU stood by Ukraine, did not recognise the votes in the east, and commended Kyiv’s efforts to implement April’s Geneva agreement, while criticising Russia for failing to do so. Ukraine’s interim prime minister was blunter:
“Russia should stop supporting terrorists and call on them to lay down weapons and vacate the buildings. Russia should stop financing them – then there will be peace in Ukraine,” said Arseniy Yatsenyuk.
Tuesday’s meeting in Brussels will not deliver everything Ukraine needs to get out of the crisis, but coupled with the threat of more sanctions it will not be ignored in Moscow.
“The main hopes to overcome the crisis are now set on presidential elections on the 25th of May. During the next few days the Ukrainian government is preparing to start up a nationwide dialogue – with representatives of the East as well – on decentralisation and a broadening of regions’ powers,” said euronews’ Angelina Kariakina, in Kyiv.