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“Wider Europe” Is Growing Tired of Ukraine: Estonian President

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"Wider Europe" Is Growing Tired of Ukraine: Estonian President

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Europe is tired of Ukraine, Estonian President Kersti Kaljulaid said in an interview with Ukrainian outlet European Integration. The reason is that Kiev is allegedly reluctant to follow any advice given to it by its Western partners.

Kersti Kaljulaid said that Tallinn continues supporting Kiev, but the “wider Europe” was growing tired of Ukraine.

“Yes. And the reason for this is that for many years we have been giving the same advice and we don’t see Ukraine becoming less corrupt, the economy less oligarchic, and so on,” she said.

According to her, in Estonia they understand that some of the member states of the European Union will “give up on Kiev’s interests for the sake of economic relations with Moscow”, even if Ukraine succeeds in the fight against corruption.

The new Ukrainian government now needs to show that developments in this direction would happen faster, she said. Getting a result now was critical for there to be anything that would come in the future.

She said that the European countries were seeing less and less point in extending the anti-Russian sanctions, since Ukraine wasn’t really doing anything to improve its situation.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky promised quick reforms, and nothing concrete has even been undertaken yet.

In the now 6 years of the beginning of the Maidan coup and the hope of quick European integration, very little has actually happened. The only things that have taken place were the signing of an agreement with the EU and visa-free entry for Ukrainian citizens.

Europe does not promise Ukraine accession to the European Union, calling it a matter of distant future, but promises it all kinds of in-depth integration, investment, cooperation and assistance. That would only take place if reforms happened.

First of all, it is the fight against corruption, building an honest judicial system and removing oligarchs from power.

Zelensky was elected with the hope that he would do what ex-President Petro Poroshenko clearly couldn’t. So far, the voters are being show nothing different from the previous government.

And the European leaders are unwilling to say why Ukraine is unlikely to join the European union.

It is mostly due to the wish of avoiding a quarrel with Russia, which would potentially see accession of Ukraine into the EU as an attempt to seize a territory which was originally Russian.

In addition, it is very important for them that Kiev believe in the European dream and but also not turn back its back to Russia.

European politics can only be told in response to the importance of supporting democracy and the free choice of the Ukrainian people, who have linked their future with Europe. The importance of repulsing Russian expansion.

But even the countries with the most anti-Russian mindset there is no wish to carry out anything drastic.

Therefore, politicians say that Ukraine will be reformed: now Zelensky has become president, and everything will work out. Which is quite unlikely, so far, Zelensky only says he wants to normalize relations with Russia, but is following strictly in Poroshenko’s footsteps.

At the same time, in Europe there is very little faith that Zelensky will really succeed in changing the situation in Ukraine. But the question is also whether the EU wants any steps to succeed, since then there would be question as to why precisely Ukraine isn’t being further integrated into Europe.

Estonian President Kersti Kaljulaid gave some pointers, but also apologized for a statement by the Estonian Interior Minister, who said that visa-free travel for Ukrainians should be revoked.

The Estonian leader said that it was unlikely for anti-Russian sanctions to be removed this year, but to make it certain that they would remain it was necessary for Ukraine to show results and build on an apparent foundation against corruption and oligarchy, which according to her exists in Ukraine.

“But there is another thing that can support sanctions – the success of reforms in Ukraine. When we do not see the real progress of your state, then we have much less arguments to uphold the sanctions. And if in the coming months you show such progress, it will greatly facilitate my work in convincing my European colleagues to maintain sanctions.”

Which is a rather twisted logic: the more successful Zelensky’s reforms are, the more reliably the EU will hold on to sanctions against Russia in order to support Ukraine.

But, at the same time European leaders are growing tired of worsening their relations with Russia in the long-term, and they surely don’t want to bet the entire relationships on Ukraine.

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