Polish President Bronislaw Komorowski accused Russia of using a policy of blackmail and pressure on Ukraine to keep it from drawing closer to the European Union.
Brussels and individual European leaders have made a series of tough statements directed at the Kremlin and Kiev since ex-Soviet Ukraine, under threat of trade retaliation by Russia, backed out of signing a cooperation agreement with the EU.
“The problem is the policy of pressure and blackmail employed towards Ukraine by its eastern neighbor,” Komorowski said in an interview in Polish daily Gazeta Wyborcza. “The Western world cannot agree to that.”
Russian President Vladimir Putin had, Komorowski said, deployed “a policy of hard pressure, using money, economics, and politics. And maybe something else instead.”
The Kremlin has rejected European allegations that it applied pressure on Ukraine.
Protesters upset that the Ukrainian government was not going to sign the deal with the EU this week clashed with police in the capital, Kiev.
Komorowski said: “Disappointment with the change in direction of the Ukrainian authorities will grow, particularly if the economic crisis worsens. This is something that should be taken into account by the EU, by Russia and by Ukrainians themselves, especially their government.”
Poland has played a leading role within the EU in trying to draw Ukraine, a neighbor with which it has ethnic and language ties, towards Europe. (Reuters)