Eastern Europe

  • Ukraine to Continue Developing Relations with NATO

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    From Interfax: Ukraine will continue promoting cooperation with NATO, Ukrainian First Deputy Defense Minister Hryhoriy Pedchenko said at a meeting with the alliance's delegation led by head of NATO's Defense Policy Planning Directorate Frank Boland in Kyiv on April 27.

    We will continue developing our relations with NATO within the Annual National Program, the Ukraine-NATO Commission, the Ukraine-NATO Military Committee, as well as the Ukraine-NATO joint working group for military reform," Pedchenko said.

    The Ukrainian Armed Forces have been playing an active role in four of NATO's five international operations, and they plan to continue participating in peacekeeping operations led by the alliance, the Ukrainian official said.  (photo: National Radio Company of Ukraine)

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  • Protests as Ukraine Approves Russian Base Extension

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    From Reuters:  Opposition lawmakers hurled eggs and smoke bombs inside Ukraine's parliament on Tuesday as the chamber approved an agreement allowing the Russian Navy to extend its stay in a Ukrainian port until 2042....

    "Today will go down as a black page in the history of Ukraine and the Ukrainian parliament,' opposition leader and former premier Yulia Tymoshenko told journalists inside parliament.

    The chamber filled with smoke as the smoke bombs were released and Speaker Volodymyr Litvyn took shelter under umbrellas provided by bodyguards as eggs rained down on him.

    Protesting deputies unfurled huge Ukrainian flags across the benches.

    Ukrainian nationalists, led by Tymoshenko and former President Viktor Yushchenko, regard the base as a betrayal of Ukraine's national interests. They wanted to remove it when the existing lease runs out in 2017.

    But parliament ratified the lease extension by 236 votes -- 10 more than the minimum required for it to pass -- and then promptly adopted the 2010 state budget which is key for securing $12 billion in loans from the International Monetary Fund.  (photo: AP)

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  • Russia Base Won't Affect Ukraine NATO Prospect-NATO

    Russia Base Won

    From Reuters: Ukraine's signing of an agreement extending the lease of a Russian naval base in Crimea does not affect its prospect of eventually joining NATO, NATO Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen said on Thursday.

    Rasmussen said NATO policies had not changed since it promised Ukraine eventual membership at a summit in 2008. "It's a bilateral agreement and it will not have an impact on our relationship neither with Russia nor with Ukraine," he said of the base deal.  (photo: NATO)

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  • Ukrainian Coalition Deal Makes Government Unworkable

    Most Ukrainian analysts agree that President Viktor Yanukovych’s decision to change the way governing coalitions are formed is, despite the Constitutional Court’s recent ruling to the contrary, unconstitutional. But how will that change actually affect the workings of government? Will it make for more or less stable government? Will it enhance or diminish the prospects for reform? Will it increase or reduce government corruption?
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  • Russia to Pay Ukraine Annually $98 Million in Cash for Naval Base Rent

    From Interfax: Russia, which has granted a discount on gas payments to Ukraine, will start paying about $98 million in cash annually to rent the Black Sea Fleet's base in Sevastopol starting in 2019, Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych said at a press conference on Thursday.

    A 1997 Russian-Ukrainian treaty on the Black Sea Fleet's stationing in Ukraine set the annual rent payment for the base at $97.85 million, and this money has been written off from Ukraine's debt for natural gas that Russia has shipped to Ukraine from the first day of its independence, Yanukovych said.  (photo: Getty)

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  • Russia Black Sea Fleet Presence in Ukraine Extended for 25 More Years

    From RIA Novosti:  Ukraine has agreed to extend the term of Russian Black Sea Fleet presence in the country's Crimea for 25 more years, the Russian president said on Wednesday.

    The new agreement, signed after talks between Russian President Dmitry Medvedev and his Ukrainian counterpart Viktor Yanukovych, also stipulates the extension for an additional five years after the term expires.  (photo: Alexander Masurkevich/RIA Novosti)

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  • Can the West Trust Viktor Yanukovych?

    U.S. President Barack Obama got his first look this week at Ukraine's new president, Viktor Yanukovych. As the Moscow-backed candidate who "won" the 2004 presidential election only to be defeated in the Orange Revolution, Yanukovych has some work to do on his image in the West, where many still see him as a tool of the Kremlin. His first visit to Washington as president underscored his commitment to actions rather than words and drew a contrast with his predecessor, a leader known for vision but incapable of governance.
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  • Viktor Yanukovych Goes to Washington

    Reading the Kyiv Post and many of Ukraine’s other newsweeklies, one gets the impression that a measure of hysteria has seized normally sober-minded and serious analysts. Respected analysts speak in dire terms of a wholesale sellout of Ukraine to Russia and of the consolidation of dictatorship.
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  • Ukraine's Energy Reform Opportunity

    Viktor Yanukovych Business Council

    The 2010 Ukrainian elections have been consigned to history books.  The election season and the winter passed without a major Ukrainian natural gas crisis, and a major gas cutoff, such as occurred in 2009, was avoided

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  • Ukraine Vows to Get Rid of its Enriched Uranium

    From the Financial Times: Ukraine pledged yesterday to get rid of its stockpile of highly enriched uranium, enough to make several nuclear weapons, within two years - a good omen for President Barack Obama as he opened a nuclear security summit in Washington.

    The agreement between Mr Obama and Viktor Yanukovich, his Ukrainian counterpart, will see Ukraine starting to transfer its weapons-grade uranium to a secure location this year, part of the US president's efforts to ensure that nuclear materials cannot fall into the hands of terrorists....

    The US will provide technical and financial assistance and Ukraine will convert its nuclear power plants to operate on lowenriched fuel. Almost half of the country's power comes from nuclear energy....

    However, it still has about 163kg of highly enriched uranium, 107kg of which is 90 per cent enriched in uranium oxide and could be converted into fissile material relatively easily.

    "By the end of this year, Ukraine is going to have the larger part of this uranium taken out of the country," Mr Yanukovich told CNN yesterday. (photo: Reuters)

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