Europe’s Crisis in Ukraine

In Ukraine, the Kremlin could have had a stable and reforming neighbor that would cooperate with Russia and the EU alike. Now, through its own actions, Russia finds itself adjacent to a powder keg.

STOCKHOLM – How Ukraine’s profound crisis will end is impossible to predict. We in the European Union and the United States are doing what we can to secure a peaceful transition to a more stable democracy, and the implementation, at long last, of urgently needed reforms. And the agreement now concluded between President Viktor Yanukovych and the opposition should create a new possibility for this.

If the agreement is not honored, Ukraine could well continue its descent into chaos and conflict, which would be in no one’s interest. That is why Ukraine’s crisis is a European crisis. And, though we cannot know how the crisis will end, we should be very clear about how it started.

For years, Ukraine sought a closer relationship with the EU. Its leaders warmly endorsed the promise of enhanced ties under the EU’s Eastern Partnership, and pushed for an EU Association Agreement, together with a Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Area. When those talks, which began under the previous Ukrainian government, were concluded, the agreement was endorsed by all four presidents and all 14 prime ministers to hold office since Ukraine achieved independence in 1991.

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