At an informal meeting of Ministers of Foreign Affairs of 27 EU countries in Sopot, Poland today, discussions were held on preparations for the forthcoming Eastern Partnership Summit, [scheduled for 29-30th September in Warsaw] where association and free trade agreements with Ukraine could be finalised.
Today, Reuters reported the meeting thus: "European Union members could block an agreement on closer ties with Ukraine if Kiev continues with a "show trial" against the country’s former leader, senior EU diplomats said on Saturday"
French Foreign Minister Alain Juppe, in a separate press conference, said: “The majority view (in the EU) is that the agreement can be finalised only if the Tymoshenko case is solved..It means having a free and fair trial and abandoning the unjustified charges against her.”
Many similar declarations have been voiced for many weeks now. However, reading stuff in Ukrainian newspapers and listening to Ukrainian TV and radio, so-called experts, representatives of 'vlasti', and maybe even the man in the street, all consider these to be empty threats and bluff.
E.g. well-known German Eurasia expert, Alexander Rahr, appearing in a recent 'Bolshaya Politika' talk show , said the sorts of responses heard today in Sopot are merely 'ritualistic' and declared that in politics, apart from moral, there are also absolutely cynical, 'realpolitik' judgements to be made.
According to Rahr, Europeans big fear that Ukraine could slip back into Russia's sphere of influence and a new Russian empire could reemerge. To prevent this, free trade and association agreements will, sooner or later be signed between the EU and Ukraine. Geo-political interests need to be served even if Tymoshenko has to 'go to the wall'.
LEvko's view is that 'big-beast' foreign ministers do not bluff...they have have made too many big decisions, sent their young persons to war too many times in recent years to have to do this... There is domestic political capital to be gained by standing up for democratic principles...protecting the imprisoned fairy princess from the brutal ogre etc...'Realpolitik' is applied in different measure according to each individual country and situation..
Most likely there will be a verdict in the Tymoshenko trial by the time of the Eastern Partnership Summit, so not long to wait for its messy resolutions ...
p.s. Tymoshenko, in a recent letter co-written with Hryhoriy Nemyria, said: "It is our fervent belief that Ukraine's future lies in Europe. Our government displayed our commitment to this goal by initiating talks for a comprehensive free-trade agreement with the EU, which is due to be finalized this year. And while we do not want Mrs. Tymoshenko's or her associates' political show-trials to deflect Ukraine from its European path, it is worth noting that never before has the EU entered into such a far-reaching free-trade agreement with a non-democratic state. Sadly, this is exactly what Ukraine is becoming."