KYIV, Ukraine, October 15, 2012 /PRNewswire/ --
During meetings with MEPs and senior European commission officials in Brussels last week, former Ukrainian president Viktor Yushchenko expressed his firm belief that the 2009 gas contract former Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko negotiated with Russia is "criminal by nature" because of the losses the agreement inflicted on the Ukrainian economy.
"Ukraine lost 62 billion Euros over the ten years of the agreement" said Yushchenko. "I never approved of the agreement, as I understood its corrupt nature."
He added that Tymoshenko's subsequent seven-year sentence for abuse of power "has halted Ukraine's integration into the EU," and stressed, "this is fundamentally wrong."
"A conflict between two Ukrainian political figures should not affect the whole country. International isolation is not the answer, and will only further the problem. Without a cooperation or dialogue with the EU, Ukraine will quickly become the second Belarus," he warned, adding that "this would be a nightmare for Ukraine."
His comments come ahead of parliamentary elections in Ukraine at the end of the month, at which, he said, the country is "facing a crucial choice."
"It is not a choice of political parties, it is a choice between ideologies concerning the future development of Ukraine," Yushchenko said. "Either we go down the democratic route in Europe, or we choose the parties of the fifth column and turn back towards totalitarianism."
President Viktor Yanukovych has repeatedly stated his commitment for European integration. The Association Agreement with the European Union was initialed in late March.
Yushchenko and Tymoshenko were allied when they came to power in the 2004-2005 Orange Revolution, following massive pro-democracy demonstrations, which overturned fraudulent presidential elections.
In an evening interview with the First National TV Channel on October 3rd, Yushchenko had said that the appointment of Yulia Tymoshenko as Prime Minister of Ukraine was "the main mistake" of his presidency.
The former Head of State explained that after the Orange Revolution "society's expectations" were in favor of Tymoshenko, and that is why she, and not Petro Poroshenko, took the position of Prime Minister in 2005. Yushchenko admitted that Poroshenko was better prepared for the position at that time.
In the trial for abuse of office against Yulia Tymoshenko last year, the former Ukrainian President testified against his Orange Revolution partner. Yushchenko claimed that Tymoshenko was driven by political gain when she signed the gas deal with Russia and betrayed Ukraine's national interests by agreeing to an inflated price.
Yushchenko further suggested that Tymoshenko, who was then preparing to run in the 2010 presidential elections, wanted to be seen as a "saviour" who ended a bitter pricing dispute with Moscow, which led to supply shortages to the Ukraine and customers across Europe in 2006.
He also claimed Tymoshenko ignored Ukrainian interests for the sake of special relations with Russian leaders, saying "Russia had to have a pliant pro-Russian leader."
SOURCE Ukraine Observer