Payback

Estonian MEP and head of Estonia’s parliamentary European Affairs Committee Marko Mihkelson writes in his blog that the real cause of the gas war between Russia and Ukraine is not merely economic:

This is not about Gazprom or Ukraine’s debts, it is about the Russian government’s desire to put pressure on the the Ukrainian government and, in the true sense of the word, pay Kiev back for supporting Tbilisi.

Moscow has repeatedly accused Ukraine of providing military support to Georgia during the August war – accusations denied by Kiev – and in his New Year’s address on December 31, President Medvedev said that Russia “would never forget” this.

Mihkelson also says that Ukraine’s present and ongoing internal power struggle between President Yushchenko and prime minister Tymoshenko is “water to the mill” for Russia’s foreign policy ambitions.

Mihkelson believes that Russia’s real aim is to thwart Ukraine’s efforts to join NATO. He says that the European Union needs to define its interests in relation to Ukraine and Russia, and also overcome its fear that “tougher statements or actions may have a negative influence on the ultimate goal”.

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