On December 10 2012 the EU laid down clear conditions which must be fulfilled in order for Ukraine to make further progress on the road to eurointegration. [official EU document here]
"The [European Union] Council reiterates its strong concern regarding the politically motivated convictions of members of the former Government after trials which did not respect international standards as regards fair, transparent and independent legal process and regrets that, as a consequence, opposition leaders were prevented from standing in the parliamentary elections....The Council expects the authorities to address the cases of politically motivated convictions without delay as well as to take further steps to reform the judiciary to prevent any recurrence."
Headlines following the visit of president Yanukovych to Lithuania yesterday and the visit of Stefan Fule, EU Commissioner for Enlargement and European neighbourhood policy to Ukraine today, now include clear mention of deadlines and ultimatums.
Ukraine must satisfy the above conditions by November this year when a grand summit will take place, or risk waiting years or even a generation to sign the pact.The statement is clear - in the eyes of the European Council former Government members were convicted on politically motivated charges. Everyone knows we are talking about here - the release of Yulia Tymoshenko and Yuriy Lutsenko.
And the Ukrainian authorities' response?
Yesterday a court ordered Yulia Tymoshenko to be questioned via a video link - a clear attempt to speed up the start of any possible trial if she to be charged with the murder of Yevhen Shcherban.
Deadline or not, there is no evidence that since last December Yanukovych and his 'banda' have stepped back even one centimetre from their drive to transform Ukraine into an authoritarian state..