Judging by remarks by EU leaders at the just-finished Yalta Economic Summit, unless Yulia Tymoshenko is released [most likely for medical procedures to be carried out in Germany] they will be most reluctant to sign any EU -Ukraine agreement in Vilnius in November.
Yanukovych is demanding some kind of statement from the imprisoned Tymoshenko....an admission of guilt and a plea for clemency, a written request to be released for treatment abroad, payment of huge fines as compensation for pecuniary losses allegedly incurred by the country as a result of the gas deal she made with Putin in 2009, and some kind of undertaking never to return or participate in Ukrainian politics in the future. In other words, Yanukovych expects Tymoshenko to save his face...
To date Tymoshenko, apart from giving a firm blessing to her country's Euro-integration plans, is sitting tight and doing nothing.
Pro and anti Yanukovych supporters are already accusing both Yanukovych and Tymoshenko of 'playing dangerous games' with Ukraine's future...
European leaders and European institutions have long been convinced that Tymoshenko was the subject of crude, politically motivated persecution, that her trial was a farce, and that she has been systematically, physically maltreated during her detainment. This was the primary reason the signing of these deals was postponed in the first place.
Any plea for clemency by Tymoshenko would be meaningless because her lawyers have already made submissions to the European Court of Human Rights complaining her human rights were impinged during her trial. A verdict by the ECHR, most likely in her favour, is expected perhaps next year.
Furthermore, the ECHR has already ruled she was unfairly arrested on the order of the trial judge, calling into question the impartiality of the judge and the soundness of the entire trial procedure.
She was was denied a fair trial to which she was entitled ...The verdict was most dubious and unsafe...this is at the core of the dispute on which Ukraine's geopolitical future hangs.
Sadly, many if not most Ukrainian politicians view Tymoshenko a hostage...a bargaining chip.. a deal clincher to be tossed into any EU-Ukraine deal if/when this becomes an unavoidable requirement.
As for an undertaking from her to withdraw from politics....every politicial knows: "never ever say never", because circumstances change. Any such undertaking would have no validity or credibility. Who would ensure it would ever be adhered to in the future?
In the most improbable event Tymoshenko and Yanukovych did make some kind of deal, would he trust her to deliver? And vice versa?
Some commentators rather ridiculously suggest Tymoshenko is blackmailing all of the participants in this business: Yanukovych, the EU and even Putin...really? The simple truth is Tymoshenko is behind bars..maybe for a long time. She has no power at all to influence any outcome. Right now her fate is solely in Yanukovych's hands.
The president was already hinting in Yalta that any failure to sign the deal in Vilnius in November would, in part, be the fault of the opposition...."[In the event of non-signing] life will continue, it will not stop....any decision is made by two sides. Ukraine has said its word, we await the response of the EU."
His spin-doctors blame the opposition for bad-mouthing Yanuk before apparently naive and stupid Europeans and putting the outcome of a successful Vilnius signing at risk.......
When asked by Vitaliy Klychko, whether he would resign in the even of non-signature, Yanukovych replied: ""Political processes - they always are either favourable, or hinder. Today they are favourable. that is why I expect you to carry an appropriate share of the responsibility together with me".
Certainly the country now finds itself in a trap, a possible lose-lose situation. But it is entirely of Yanukovych's making. It is he who is shirking his responsibility...someone should put a note on his desk...THE BUCK STOPS HERE..
p.s. Yanukovych also mentioned that just like his questioner Klychko, in his life he has received, and knows how to take a punch...[reminiscing about his shadowy adolescence?] But he forgot to mention anything about delivering blows to the victims he mugged, for which he was twice received prison sentences...His nickname there was 'kham'...[boor or lout in English...]