Foreign media digest 25 September 2014


Ukraine loses opportunities because of postponing implementation of the Association Agreement. President of the Center for Social and Economic Research in Warsaw Christopher Hartwell thinks delaying the deal with the EU is a mistake for Kiev.

The Wall Street Journal:

As he writes in his article for The Wall Street Journal, “The Ukrainian government risks losing a rare opportunity to rescue Ukraine from its economic failures of the past two decades.” The author calls for Ukrainian government to ” insist that implementation of the trade pact with the EU not be delayed. And if the EU cannot help integrate Ukraine into the world economy, Ukraine must liberalize unilaterally and wipe away the vestiges of the command-and-control system that has crippled it for too long. It may lose some territory to its large neighbor to the east, but if it fails to reform, it will have also bargained away its soul.”, – Hartwell sums up.

Lithuania Foreign Minister: EU compromise on Ukraine isn’t the right step.

While EU disquiet emerges over the compromise, member states are starting to consider whether to roll back recent sanctions against Russia because of the eastern Ukraine cease-fire. He made clear Lithuania thinks it is “too early” to ease the pressure.

Lithuania’s President: Russia is terrorizing its neighbors and using terrorist methods.

The Washington Post:

“The problem is that Putin’s Russia today is ready and willing to go to war. Europe and the West are not ready and not willing to go to war. There is no leadership in Europe or in the world able to stop Putin. Afterwards, we will be surprised that new territories are taken, that new countries are partitioned, and it will be a lot more costly and too late maybe to solve it,” Grybauskaite said. The journalist asks whether Putin’s aim is to split Europe. “The danger of Russia’s behavior today is not smaller than what we have with ISIS [the Islamic State] in Iraq and Syria,” the president answers. “So you think both ISIS and Russia are terrorists?” asks the journalist. “Yes. I think that Russia is terrorizing its neighbors and using terrorist methods,” Grybaustaite said. She agreed with the journalist that Russia had received Crimea and Eastern Ukraine. “With the applause of European and other leaders in the world because they didn’t help Ukraine at all,” Lithuania’s president said. According to her words, “All neighboring countries to Russia are under threat now. He is threatening them and joking that they are not real states.”

Poroshenko and other authorities promise reforms wouldn’t be stopped. European politicians publicly denied Russia could make changes in Association Agreement, but in private talks EU diplomats say Moscow will use its veto on Ukraine in many other ways.

New York Times:

“Many politicians and analysts say Ukraine has capitulated to Russia and President Vladimir Putin received what he’d wanted – unstable and less sovereign state,” New York Times writes, adding that now Ukraine “is depend on Moscow more than ever”.


Russian president Vladimir Putin will attend Asia-Europe Meeting in Milan.

Les Echos:

The EU-Asia summit is expected to focus on sustainable growth and security. Italy expects the summit to be attended by German Chancellor Angela Merkel, who normally takes a lead in western contacts with Putin, British Prime Minister David Cameron and, probably, French president Francois Hollande.

G7 Ministers of foreign affairs calls for Russia to сomply with the commitment on Donbass. Moscow must “withdraw all troops, vehicles and weapons.

AFP, Deutsche Welle:

After the sanctions, prepare for the Russian counterattack.

The Financial Times:

“Companies subject to western sanctions are making moves to circumvent the restrictions,” Zarate writes. Rosneft, the Russian oil company, is set to buy 30 per cent of Norway’s north Atlantic Drilling, enabling it to access offshore drilling capabilities in the Arctic despite technology export bans and financial restrictions.

Putin’s last and best weapon against Europe is gas.


Meanwhile, Europe has changed. “Russia’s doings in Crimea and secret support of rebels in eastern Ukraine has changed EU’s policy from cautious support to a hard commitment of partnership, the author thinks. Moreover, the war and the tragedy with MH16 which was allegedly shot down by separatists have united Europe against Russia. “In other words, long-term reduction of gas supply will now immediately turn into a serious fight with the whole Europe and will create the risk to impose even more paralyzing sanction,” the article states.

EU will reconsider sanctions against Russia. Due to the demand from some countries, EU will return to the question about Russian sanctions on Tuesday.

Le Temps:

“Will sanctions against Russia be soothed? Following Slovakia and Czech Republic request, which were against increasing sanctions, 28 EU countries will give their answer on Tuesday. Joerg Forbrig, senior program officer for central and eastern Europe at the Berlin bureau of the German Marshall Fund of the U.S., said EU shouldn’t soften sanction. “Russian know how EU functions, they are manipulating with some countries in order to rich their goals. Troops withdrawal and prisoners swap are just another maneuver.”


Ukraine picks motley group to exchange for prisoners. Україна «хитрує» під час обміну полоненими. The newspaper informs: in a prisoner swap in the previous week of 27 men and one woman, only seven were rebel fighters. The process is also emphasizing the scale of the Ukrainian setbacks and Kiev’s lack of leverage on a host of issues

The New York Times:

“I am a civilian and I was included just to fill out the numbers,” Nikita Podikov, 17, said in an interview. Ukrainian soldiers arrested him in a town near the front lines two weeks ago as they pulled back during a retreat, he said. Mr. Podikov said the authorities accused him of belonging to a gang of pro-Russian assassins working behind enemy lines, but never gave any proof. “I never fought, I never killed anybody,” he said. “They arrested me, beat me for two days and then kept me for trading,” he said. On both sides, said Vladimir Ruban, a retired Ukrainian officer and senior negotiator, the prisoners are divided into several categories, each valued differently, such as civilians arrested in protests, prisoners of war, and suspected spies. A common trade appears to be one Ukrainian private for one pro-Russian political agitator, the correspondent makes conclusions.

UNA calls for Ukraine to vote for the law on refugees.

Deutsche Welle:

The expert points to new problems refugees are faced with the beginning of cold weather, they are forced to live in unsuitable conditions. That’s why he urges immediately to adopt a low on refugees, which is based on international standards and human rights and help “effectively react on refugees’ needs”. Bejani stresses the adoption of the law is scheduled for October 14 and must not be delayed. “Although official data reports about 300 thousand refugees, according to unofficial estimates, the number of refugees could be up to three times more,” he adds and calls for international community to provide immediate and long-term support to restore the water supply, electricity and other services.

Since the separatists took total control here, human rights and Ukrainian activists say, an untold number of loyalists have been extorted, abducted, tortured and, allegedly, executed.

Washington Post