- Created: Thursday, 14 May 2009 20:53
- Written by Trevor Rayne
US Secretary of State Powell, British Foreign Secretary Straw and European Commission President Barroso swiftly took the side of the demonstrators in Kiev, protesting at the declaration of Prime Minister Viktor Yanukovych as winner of Ukraine’s 21 November presidential elections. Powell said the US did not accept the results of the election and warned of the consequences if the Ukrainian government did not act quickly. Russian president Putin congratulated Yanukovych before the results were announced. Powell visited the Ukraine during the election campaign and Putin visited twice to support Yanukovych. Writing in The Guardian (25 November 2004) Timothy Garton Ash declared for the demonstrators and said that Ukraine was on ‘the front line of the forward march of freedom’. As we go to press the Supreme Court has suspended the result of the election.
Powell, Straw and Barroso support opposition leader Viktor Yuschenko. Yuschenko is a former head of the National Bank of Ukraine and his associates include those who benefited from the privatisation of Ukraine’s industry. Yuschenko wants closer ties with the European Union (EU) and an open market economy. He said he wants Ukraine’s troops withdrawn from Iraq. Yanukovych seeks closer relations with Russia and received strong support from Ukraine’s Russian population, located mainly in the east of the country. The industrial workers and miners of the east see in the former German Democratic Republic what Yuschenko’s programme offers them: unemployment and poverty.