Books on Ukraine
Update No: 329 - (01/06/08)
Averse to the West?
In the West it is assumed that the Ukrainians and other former Soviet states
wish to join Western organisations and become in effect Westerners. This may be
true in Georgia, as it most certainly has been in the Baltic states. But it is
not wholly true in Ukraine.
Ukraine would doubtless like to join the EU, given the obvious immediate
economic benefits. But it cannot be represented as clamouring to join NATO –
not a bit of it.
Ukrainians are more than 2 to 1 against joining NATO
A majority of Ukrainians are against joining NATO, according to the result of an
opinion poll released on May 6.
The recent poll conducted by the FOM-Ukraine Public Opinion Foundation showed
that 54.9 percent of respondents would vote against joining the military
alliance, while 22.3 percent would back the move. The survey was conducted
between April 16-25 and involved 2,000 respondents in Ukraine's 160 cities and
At an April NATO summit in Bucharest, capital of Romania, the 26-nation alliance
refused to admit Ukraine and Georgia to its Membership Action Plan, despite U.S.
President George W. Bush's strong support for the former Soviet states' bids.
However, NATO said it would reconsider the countries' NATO bids at a later date.
Russia sees the NATO's eastward expansion as a direct threat to its status as a
regional power. Russian President Vladimir Putin has warned that his country
could aim its warheads at Ukraine if it joins NATO and deploys anti-missile
defenses on its territory.
NATO's rejection of Kiev and Tbilisi's bids, which was largely a result of
objections from France and Germany, was seen partly as a Russian diplomatic
The fact is that the Ukrainians feel correctly that it would be taken by Moscow
as a very hostile act, to join NATO. Kiev could expect big difficulties in
buying Russian gas and other matters. It would be highly provocative. It is not
going to happen.
Yushchenko to initiate creation of Baltic-Black Sea- Caspian Energy Transit
It would be wise for other reasons for Ukraine to diversify its energy supplies
away from Russia. It is never sensible to have a more-or-less single source of
President Viktor Yushchenko had a new idea here. Why not link up Caucasus energy
to consumers to the north, including to the foremost, Ukraine?
The key issue on the agenda of the Energy Summit due in Kiev on May 22-23 was
the initiative of Yushchenko on creating the Baltic-Black Sea-Caspian Energy
Transit Commonwealth. Ukraine would benefit doubly, as both in receipt of new
energy from the Caucasus and as the key transit country for energy flowing to
states on the Baltic.
This commonwealth will help create a new culture of energy transit in the spirit
of the European Energy Charter, and will provide a new balance of interests
between producers, consumers, and transistors of energy. “The main aim of the
Commonwealth is to provide a reliable and secure oil and gas transit at optimal
rates”, B.Sokolovskiy, Yushchenko's energy spokesman, said.
According to him, another important topic for discussion at the Energy Summit
was the operation of the Odessa-Brody oil pipeline. In the coming months, the
oil pipeline will work in a new regime, which corresponds to the energy security
strategy of Ukraine, he noted. Besides, several variants of its branches will be
worked out: towards northern, western, and eastern routes, in addition to
already existing trunks.
He expressed a belief that this oil pipeline will become of great importance for
European consumers, as well as for exporters of the Caspian region as a whole.