Summary: Ukraine has, since the Orange Revolution of 2004, attempted a difficult balancing act between Europe and Russia. This conundrum came to a head in the last week of November, as Ukraine dramatically reneged on plans to enter into a trade pact with the EU. This comes after months of wrangling between Russia and the European bloc in what one analyst described as quite simply “an all-out political fight between Russia and the EU over Ukraine.” The key issue remains that of the imprisoned yet indefatigable ex-Prime Minister Yulia Tymoschenko, incarcerated two years ago on abuse of office charges, whom the EU wants to see freed. This would of course be a bitter pill for President Yanukovich to swallow given that they are sworn political enemies and her freedom would see his political standing challenged. With presidential elections coming up in 2015, the issue is of even greater concern. The Russian president, Vladimir Putin, has made it clear that the consequences of favouring a European direction will have grave trade consequences for Ukraine. For reasons to be explained below, it seems that at this stage Russia has won the battle.
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