Poroshenko to visit Canadian Parliament and US Congress this week; Ukrainian parliament concedes to Russian rebels and ratifies agreement with EU
What a week. New Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko is scheduled to visit Ottawa on Wednesday, followed by a visit to the US congress on Thursday.
Poroshenko is scheduled to address Parliament Wednesday at 2PM EST, and you can watch live on CPAC. The Harper government pledged $200 million back in March, but it has yet to be delivered – even causing Ukraine’s ambassador to Canada to ask about the money back in July. Canada also added additional sanctions against Russia and pledged more than 300 election monitors for the fall Ukrainian parliamentary elections.
Poroshenko is scheduled to meet US President Barack Obama on Thursday, and was subsequently invited to speak to Congress the same day. You can watch the Congressional address Thursday at 10AM EST on CSPAN. The US and the EU added additional sanctions against Russia last Friday.
Association Agreement with EU
The association agreement with the EU, originally rejected by Yanukovych back in November which plunged Ukraine into rebellion then war with Russia, has finally been ratified by Ukrainian Parliament. It won’t be fully implemented until 2016.
For about 15 months, Ukraine will be able to ship its goods to the E.U. without paying export tariffs, but Europeans will not be able to enjoy the same free access to the Ukrainian market. That is what Russia has long demanded.
Recently, at the end of August, when the leaders of Russia and Ukraine met for the first time in nearly three months to discuss the war raging along their border, Vladimir Putinused his time at the microphone to rant about Ukraine’s trade deal with Europe. The Russian President insisted that it would cost Russia around $3 billion if Ukraine went ahead with the agreement, which he said would disrupt the customs rules and sanitary inspections that Russia conducts at its border.
Autonomy to Donetsk and Luhansk
Ukrainian Parliament also voted for autonomy and self-governance for the two terrorist-occupied oblasts for Donetsk and Luhansk for the next three years, as negotiated with Russia as part of the ceasefire. Amnesty has been granted to those who did not commit war crimes.
Many argue that these two areas will pave the way for disgraced Party of Regions and Communist party officials to return to office and have a say in Ukraine:
Holding elections in the occupied territories with the almost guaranteed victory of the Akhmetov-Medvedchuk project would return to parliament the most odious names from the previous era. On the other hand, it would permit the transfer of the separatist war from the terrorist to the political format. This has always been the path for dealing with “separatist” conflicts in the West.