[notice noticeType=”info” ]Photo: Klitschko appealed to the protesters not to provoke further violence[/notice]

The Ukrainian government and opposition failed to reach a breakthrough agreement during several hours of negotiations on Thursday. Opposition leader Vitali Klitschko asked the demonstrators in Kiev to be patient, while President Viktor Yanukovych announced a crisis meeting in parliament. Some commentators hold Moscow responsible for the escalating situation. Others call on the EU to work with Russia to find a solution.

West must pressure Yanukovych

The West can only stop the government’s brutal approach in Ukraine with targeted sanctions against Yanukovych, political scientist Laurynas Kasčiūnas writes on the portal 15min:

Such sanctions could allow the EU to save face. … The goal of such measures should be to divide the country’s political elite. Or to be more precise: to get the oligarchs – who until now have been independent political actors – to pressure Viktor Yanukovych to stop controlling the state, dissolve parliament and call snap elections. … We shouldn’t be talking just about black lists of people not allowed to travel to the West, but also – and more importantly – about freezing financial assets. The decisive thing is for these measures to be coordinated jointly by the US and the EU. Nevertheless, the Magnitsky list [with US sanctions imposed after the death of the lawyer and government critic Sergey Magnitsky in Moscow] shows how difficult that will be.

(15min – Lithuania)

 

Apply sanctions against Moscow, not Kiev

The US imposed visa restrictions on Ukrainian officials on Wednesday in reaction to the violence in Kiev. More effective would be sanctions against Russia, the national-conservative tabloid Gazeta Polska Codziennie contends:

For the most part, the roots of the problem do not lie in Kiev. They include Moscow’s aggressive policies that have stripped Ukraine of the ability to decide over its own future. Russia’s influence is so strong because it occupied the country for three centuries. … Nevertheless the West has at its disposal a whole spectrum of sanctions against Putin: from an Olympics boycott to an energy embargo. That would send the right message that Russia cannot go on treating its neighbours like slave colonies.

(Gazeta Polska Codziennie – Poland)

 

EU and Russia must work together

As the situation in Kiev increasingly resembles a civil war, the left-liberal Frankfurter Rundschau urges Russia and the EU to jointly seek a solution for Ukraine:

Not only does Russia have a greater stake in Ukraine, it also has more potential for wielding influence. And that’s not just the 15 billion dollars that Putin has now promised. With its – failed – association agreement, there is one thing the EU seems to have overlooked: Russia’s partnership with Ukraine is of decisive importance for its geopolitical position in Europe. Russia has legitimate interests in Ukraine that can’t be ignored. So it’s high time to bury the completely anachronistic conflict between Brussels and Moscow about whose zone of influence Ukraine lies in. The EU must come to an understanding with Russia. By working together, they can perhaps bring their influence to bear in Kiev.

(Frankfurter Rundschau – Germany)

 

Ukraine a victim of its Soviet past

The pro-European demonstrators in Ukraine have their work cut out for them in view of the country’s Soviet past, the weekly Revista 22 points out:

Kiev drifting towards dictatorship showcases how fragile the former Soviet Republics’ path to democracy is – with the exception of the Baltic states. They have a strict regime of Russification behind them in which moral values were always scorned. In this desert, of which the Republic of Moldova is also part, the institutions are weak and the politicians just want power and wealth. They tackle reforms half-heartedly and only under pressure from the West. They trick their sponsors into thinking they’re playing along and the latter must reconcile themselves with the Byzantine customs and hypocrisy of their ‘dialogue partners’. … The bribery and destructive actions of Moscow discourage reforms and democratisation in the former Soviet sphere and serve as justification for continuing the pseudo policy with the West.

(Revista 22 – Romania)