On December 19, 2011, an event took place that was supposed to be crucial for the future of our country, according to the Official web site of Yulia Tymoshenko. Six months ago, it was expected that an association agreement would be signed at the EU-Ukraine summit and along with the process of its ratification, we would begin the difficult job of giving meaning to our European perspective.
The Ukrainian people have spent a long 20 years moving towards this strategic marker of a common European future: numerous meetings, consultations and negotiations were held. The idea of European integration became a priority for society because it meets our vital national interests. This work was done by the entire country – parliaments, presidents, governments, including the one I led, civic organizations, business, and civil society in general.
But all this work was torpedoed by Yanukovych. The EU-Ukraine summit, unfortunately, was the latest lost strategic opportunity for the rebirth and Europeanization of Ukraine. We didn’t gain new friends in the EU and increased the risk that even our neighbors may begin turning away from Ukraine.
In just half a year Yanukovych pushed domestic standards of human rights, justice and freedom of speech so far from European standards, that the gap is almost insurmountable.
Leaders of EU countries and the international democratic community sounded the alarm, did everything possible to negotiate, and I’m deeply grateful for their position and efforts to help Ukraine. But Yanukovych didn’t understand any of the help from Europe, didn’t take into consideration the will of his own people, and sacrificed the country’s future for the sake of his selfish interests, sickening ambitions and personal revenge.
This event will still be assessed in detail, but for me the main conclusion was that the government betrayed its people. There will be no real European integration under this government. There will only be the betrayal of national interests and risk of loss of de facto independence. We Ukrainians must learn a bitter lesson from December 19: there is nothing good to expect from Yanukovych.
Our people must decide their own fate and defend their interests. Ukraine’s European future is in our hands, dear Ukrainians, and we will build it, but without Yanukovych and his closest associates.