Why the West Is Willing to Overlook Corruption in Ukraine

Ukrainian president Petro Poroshenko and European Council president Donald Tusk shake hands after delivering a news conference in Brussels, February 12, 2015
Ukrainian president Petro Poroshenko and European Council president Donald Tusk shake hands after delivering a news conference in Brussels, February 12, 2015 (European Council)

After the bungled arrest of Mikheil Saakashvili, a former president of Georgia and governor of Odessa, Leonid Bershidsky argues it is clear the West has backed the wrong man in Ukraine.

Saakashvili enjoys little popular support but had been trying to reinvent himself as an opposition leader by campaigning against corruption in President Petro Poroshenko’s government.

Protesters freed Saakashvili from a police van on Tuesday after he had been dragged from his apartment in Kiev by security forces. Read more “Why the West Is Willing to Overlook Corruption in Ukraine”

As Yatseniuk Resigns, Blame Shifts to Poroshenko

President Petro Poroshenko of Ukraine attends a World War II memorial ceremony, June 22, 2015
President Petro Poroshenko of Ukraine attends a World War II memorial ceremony, June 22, 2015 (Press Service of the President of Ukraine/Mikhail Palinchak)

Ukrainian prime minister Arseniy Yatseniuk resigned on Sunday to make way for a new government but could not resist taking a swipe at his rival, President Petro Poroshenko, on his way out.

“The country’s political crisis was unleashed artificially,” said Yatseniuk, alleging in a televised address that his opponents’ desire to remove him from power had “paralyzed their will for real change.”

Yatseniuk’s conservative People’s Front, the second largest in parliament, is nevertheless due to renew its coalition with Poroshenko’s Solidarity bloc and former prime minister Yulia Tymoshenko’s Fatherland party. Volodimir Groisman, the current speaker and an ally of Poroshenko’s, is likely to succeed Yatseniuk as premier.

Yatseniuk earlier accused the other parties, which share his desire to move Ukraine away from Russia and closer to the West, of shifting the blame for unpopular austerity measures like subsidy cuts to his group when they were enacted to qualify for $40 billion in international support.

Tymoshenko has demanded the reintroduction of energy subsidies as a condition for returning to government. Read more “As Yatseniuk Resigns, Blame Shifts to Poroshenko”

Ukraine’s Poroshenko Urges Dutch to Support EU Treaty

Ukrainian president Petro Poroshenko meets with members of his National Security and Defense Council in Kiev, August 28, 2014
Ukrainian president Petro Poroshenko meets with members of his National Security and Defense Council in Kiev, August 28, 2014 (Press Service of the President of Ukraine/Palinchak Michael)

Ukrainian president Petro Poroshenko urged Dutch voters on Thursday to support his country’s association agreement with the European Union in a referendum next year.

But he also argued that a “no” vote would not derail the process.

“This is the Rubicon that we need to cross” to fully break with Ukraine’s Soviet past, he said. Read more “Ukraine’s Poroshenko Urges Dutch to Support EU Treaty”

Despite Limited Voting in East, Election Boosts Poroshenko

Petro Poroshenko
Ukrainian president Petro Poroshenko meets with members of his National Security and Defense Council in Kiev, August 28 (Press Service of the President of Ukraine/Palinchak Michael)

Ukrainian president Petro Poroshenko was likely to win a strong mandate for his pro-European policy in a parliamentary election on Sunday but voting could not take place in parts of the east where rebels sympathetic to Russia have declared breakaways republics.

Nationwide opinion polls showed Poroshenko’s and Prime Minister Arseniy Yatseniuk’s pro-European parties ahead. While they might not win a majority between them, they should be able to form a coalition with other parties that support a united Ukraine and the reforms sought by the country’s European Union partners. Read more “Despite Limited Voting in East, Election Boosts Poroshenko”

After Election, Ukraine Renews Offensive Against Separatists

Following a presidential election on Sunday in which Ukrainians overwhelmingly backed the billionaire Petro Poroshenko, the government in Kiev launched a renewed offensive against pro-Russian separatists in the east that killed more than fifty on Tuesday.

Hours after the polls closed Sunday night, the government carried out airstrikes against rebels in the east of Ukraine, near the Russian border, where they have proclaimed two independent states. Helicopters and warplanes attacked the airport of Donetsk, which separatists had seized on Monday, and paratroopers were flown in to root them out.

In his first news conference after winning the election, Poroshenko promised to invigorate the government’s “anti-terrorist” campaign, saying it should to be able to put down the revolt within hours. Read more “After Election, Ukraine Renews Offensive Against Separatists”