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The National Interest: How Ukraine might blow its historic opportunity

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Feb. 24, 2013, 8:49 p.m. | Op-ed — by Andreas Umland

Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych delivers a speech during the broadcast news talk show "Dialog With the Country" on a set of the first national TV channel in Kiev on Feb. 22. AFP PHOTO/ PRESIDENTIAL PRESS-SERVICE POOL/ANDREY MOSIENKO
© AFP

Andreas Umland

 After five years of intense negotiations, Ukraine and the European Union are on the verge of taking their relations to a new level.

In March 2012, Kiev and the EU initialed an elaborate association agreement providing for close political cooperation, as well as a deep and comprehensive free-trade area. Now, Kiev is merely a small step away from the treaty’s signing, which is scheduled to take place at the November 2013 Eastern Partnership summit in Vilnius. The agreement would, if confirmed, be the largest international pact that Ukraine has ever concluded. This exceptionally large accord—its 906-page main text is now freely available on the websites of the Kiev Post and Kiev Weekly—would also be the biggest contract that the EU has ever entered into with a nonmember state.

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