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European Ukraine

It is now clear that Ukraine is European. Ukrainians are very close to realizing their demonstrated aspirations to be aligned closer to the European Union(EU) rather  than to Russia. Any tactics by President Viktor Yanukovych to delay this inevitable  will be a ploy that would prolong protests and violence in the streets of the cities of the Ukraine. Anti protest laws have been repealed, the government has resigned, there is a conditional amnesty bill hanging in the ballots and the president has taken (sick) leave. Yet, affairs are still ripe for upheaval in Ukraine because key demands of the protesters including the freeing from jail of opposition leader Yulia Tymoshenko, and the actual resignation of president Yanukovych have not taken place. The opposition fears the rumored sick leave by Yanukovych could be a political ploy because it creates a void on the other side of the negotiating table. But intelligence suggest that Yanukovych is done. His ability to effectively rule Ukraine past last December. As his country boiled in the bitter cold in mass protests, Yanukovych went jetting to China and then to Sochi, Russia. When three former Ukrainian presidents - Leonid Kravchuk, Leonid Kuchma and Viktor Yushchenko stood in solidarity with protesters in December, it marked the end of the Yanukovych era. Yet, Yanukovych forged a good-priced gas deal with Russia clearly aimed at saving Ukraine a lot of money; but on what conditions? Russia has denied any conditions to the deal. But yesterday, Russia announced it was holding up part of the deal of providing money to the Ukraine until a new government sits. At about this said time, Yanukovych went on sick leave. The $15 billion question now is whether Yanukovych will leave with some dignity or would  there be more blood shed until he finally sees that he cannot win a free and fair re-election in Ukraine. Ukrainians from the East and the West have spoken - it is with the EU with whom they aspire to hedge their future.

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