16 January 2018, Tuesday, 18:19

Steven Pifer: Ukraine becoming next Belarus


A former envoy of the US to Kyiv thinks the West will not close eyes to political repression and corruption in the country.

According to Steven Pifer, it doesn't matter whether Ukraine will join the Customs Union or not.

A threat of turning to Russia would possibly have had an effect in the 1990s, when the West and Russia were struggling for Ukraine, but president Obama and many of the EU leaders don't think in these terms today, Zerkalo Nedeli website cites the former ambassador. This threat will not scare the West making it give up its values, Steven Pifer thinks.

In his opinion, the political situation in the country deteriorated in the last three years. In particular, he points at pressure on media, biased justice and failure to comply with international electoral standards.

Mr Pifer doesn't believe president Yanukovych is ready to turn to Russia to risk Ukraine's sovereignty. The impression of the corruption growth also contributed to tarnishing Yanukovych's image in the West, the diplomat says.

The US authorities still expect Ukraine to become a modern European democracy with a strong market economy. However, the country is becoming next Belarus, Mr Pifer notes.