This week Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych and EU Commissioner for Enlargement and European Neighborhood Policy, Stefan Fule, have had a couple of meetings to discuss the settlement of the current deep political crisis. Today Fule was interviewed by the excellent Natalia Humenyuk on Hromadske Radio.
One of his main messages was: "[European] foreign ministers [at the Council of Europe] made it clear that the EU is ready to react rapidly on any eventual deterioration of the situation on the ground."
Translating this from diplo-speak: If Yanukovych uses violent means to scatter the EuroMaidan sanctions against leading Ukrainian ministers will immediately kick in.
Fule called videos such as this one explaining reasons for sanctions under existing legislation 'best sellers', [ presumably in the circles in which he mixes...]
One of Yanukovych's closest advisers, head of the president's administration Andriy Kluyev, who has many business interests in Austria, would be one of the first in the firing line. Former PM Mykola Azarov, who flew to Austria to join his family who live there immediately after being sacked a couple of weeks ago, has now returned back to Ukraine....
There are credible reports that during the last few days of January Kluyev had secret meeting with Yulia Tymoshenko. She has been incarcerated in a Kharkiv clinic for many months and is currently serving a seven year stretch for 'abuse of power'. [At a press conference today following a visit to her by Arseniy Yatsenyuk and Oleksandr Turchynov, the latter, when asked, did not deny his leader may have indeed met Kluyev].
Among other things, at his meeting with Tymoshenko, Andriy Klyuyev allegedly proposed to the ex-premier in exchange for her support for Arseniy Yatsenyuk's appointment as PM she would be freed to fly to Germany for treatment. Kluyev also promised all activists detained for their links to the current crisis would be freed, and a commission to work on the drafting of a new Constitution would be formed.
Tymoshenko told Kluyev to piss off.
All this is quite revealing.
As I have mentioned many times previously, Tymoshenko was arrested, tried and sentenced in order to be used as a bargaining chip when the time was right. It seems the moment has come.
Kluyev and his pals now know - if serious violence is used against protesters they will be stuck in Ukraine [or Russia] for good. Sure, they have property and assets in Ukraine, but the bulk is most likely stashed away in offshore bank accounts and will not be much good if they are banned from travelling to Europe and North America. No happy retirement when they get old. Sanctions against them is a big weapon..
These people also know that without a swift injection of several billion dollars Ukraine's economy will quickly "go down the tubes". Putin will demand that in order any further funds be disbursed only someone trusted by him must become Ukraine's PM. Failing this, the EU could step in..but there will be serious strings attached and major economic pain linked to their proposals. They, like the Americans, would like to see someone like Yatsenyuk head the cabinet of ministers.
Party of Regions' will try to nominate one of their bandits, for PM, There are rumours that the 37 year-old former catering college student, now acting minister of justice, Olena Lukash, may even be nominated as a compromise...
Run for the hills boys...
p.s. There is mounting circumstantial evidence that off-duty Berkut personnel are responsible for the torching of dozens and dozens of activists' vehicles in Kyiv and elsewhere. Also very many of the detained activists who are currently being released, or are now on house arrest, are claiming they were horribly maltreated, particularly by Berkut goons. Berkut and other riot control forces are stoking up protesters' anger and are a serious impediment to a successful resolution of the current crisis.