In an unprecedented opinion piece in the New York Times, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs Baroness Catherine Ashton have delivered a thinly veiled warning to the Ukrainian government about the conduct of the forthcoming elections.

They highlight their continued commitment to partnership with Ukraine,

"It remains deeply in our common interest to see an independent, prosperous and irreversibly democratic Ukraine that is associated with the European Union. We want to pursue deeper, mutually beneficial partnerships with Ukraine and will continue working toward a day where Ukraine will fully realize its own potential and take its place among the modern democracies of Europe."

They warn, however, that this can only happen if "the democratic rights of the Ukrainian people, including freedoms of expression, political participation, association and media, are respected, the rule of law is put on strong footing, and progress is made on the overall reform agenda."

Their article makes clear their concerns about selective justice which has ruled out Tymoshenko and Lutsenko from participating in the elections, and abuse of electoral law, including voter bribery, during the campaign and say that the government needs to bring malpractices to a halt immediately. The conduct and outcome of the elections will be key.

"This is a moment when Ukraine’s leaders should deliver for their citizens. They expect President Viktor F. Yanukovich and his government to address these concerns, especially to ensure that the right to political participation is upheld and to provide for fair media access for all candidates."

If it wasn't clear before, it's clear now: the world is watching Ukraine's elections. They couldn't be more important for Ukraine's future development and relationships with the West.

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Ukrayinska Dumka


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