Twenty years ago, on 24th August 1991, the day when Ukraine proclaimed its independence, your humble blogger was in Warsaw. Poland was the first country to recognise the nascent Ukrainian state and is, even today, Ukraine's 'best friend'. But right now they are dismayed by what they see as the 'roll-back' of democracy in the country and the political persecution of Ukrainian opposition leaders, in particular.
Today president Yanukovych was visiting Polish president Komorowski on the Baltic coast in what could turn out to be a watershed meeting.
In an op-ed piece in one of Poland's leading newspapers, 'Gazeta Wyborcza', a Polish presidential advisor worries: "..whether the Ukrainian authorities are fully aware of the consequences that this [Tymoshenko] trial may have on the success of projects of key importance on the declared desire of their permanent association with the European Union."
He adds: In Warsaw, the great hope is that by the end of the six-month period of the Polish presidency, EU talks on association agreements and free trade agreements [with Ukraine] will be concluded, but developments in Kyiv could tie the hands of Poland on the issue.
Arguments of politicians and countries reluctant to draw Ukraine into the EU may gain the upper hand. If we fail to do so by the end of 2011, talks on the association may be a drag on for many months or even longer.
It seems that the authorities in Kyiv, and President Viktor Yanukovych in particular, should take into accout this eventuality. It would be fatal if they have underestimated the seriousness of the situation.
In this high-stakes game for European status for Ukraine Kyiv should not provide arguments that undermine their chances of success.
Other Polish experts also think Komorowski will be trying to convince Yanukovych to free Tymoshenko from custody, whilst Yanukovych could be asking for advice on how to best extricate himself from the mess his hubris and lust for revenge have led him into.
It's looking more and more as if red lines are being drawn - Komorowski may well have told his Ukrainian counterpart: Back-off the opposition, or you're on your own pal..if you do not, a diplomatic train-wreck for you and your ministry of foreign affairs guys may well be in prospect..
Whatever Yanukovych decides, his democratic credentials have already been irretrievably damaged. This may be his last foreign trip westward for a while..