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You're reading: STRATFOR: EU leaders visit Ukrainian oligarch

Rather than meeting with Ukraine’s President Viktor Yanukovych, the two foreign ministers will instead meet with Ukraine’s richest man and leading oligarch, Rinat Akhmetov. This unique meeting comes at a crucial time in the ongoing competition between key EU members and Russia over Ukraine.

It is telling that Bildt and Sikorski, specifically, are traveling to Ukraine. And that is because the two countries that they represent, Poland and Sweden, are the initiators of the Eastern Partnership program, which seeks to bring six former Soviet states closer to the EU.

One of these states is Ukraine, which has become the cornerstone of the program, both because it is the most strategic state in the Eastern Partnership and it is the farthest along in its negotiations in cooperation with the EU.

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