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It so happened that Ukraine's leaders, President Viktor Yushchenko and Prime
It so happened that Ukraine's leaders, President Viktor Yushchenko and Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko, appeared at the same time in the same place, attended events, met people, and did not have a fight - a rare occasion these days.

One would say this is not possible, not in Kiev anyway.

But it was not Kiev. It was Brussels, where Yushchenko went on a two-day visit on March 18 and 19. Tymoshenko went to Brussels on other business. After the scheduled events, both were invited to a summit of the European Parliament's largest political group, the European People's Party (EPP).

Yushchenko's Our Ukraine and Tymoshenko's Batkivshchyna Party, part of her eponymous bloc, were both observers at the summit of EPP, an alliance of Europe's leading centrist and Christian democratic parties.

In fact, EPP would never have dared distract both Ukrainian leaders from their important functions in the face of the economic downturn for such a small event like a summit, had the group not been genuinely concerned over what is going on in Ukraine.

Few in Brussels remain unperturbed by the uncertainty caused by Ukraine's erratic behavior over Russian gas or by the prospect of Ukraine's imminent economic collapse. It is hard to predict what would happen if a collapse of a nation of nearly 46 million on the EU border were to unfold.

Another alarming sign is that there is no love lost between the former comrades in arms of the Orange Revolution these days, and one of them leaving the country stands a real chance of not coming back. The Ukrainian parliament is already initiating Yushchenko's impeachment led by Tymoshenko.

In Brussels, Yushchenko and Tymoshenko met (separately) with European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso, Javier Solana, the European Union's High Representative for the Common Foreign and Security Policy, and several leading European leaders and foreign ministers.

Some of them tried to delicately prod the two adversaries toward each other, albeit in vain, as officials in Brussels realize that reuniting the former allies is hardly possible. It was so far unheard of in Europe that a president would disavow statements, cancel decisions and invalidate agreements signed by a prime minister.

Just like European financiers, we are wondering who of the two is capable of getting things done with regard to Ukraine's economy and thus can be trusted with the IMF and EU financial aid for budget and general economic stabilization.

The IMF approved a $16.5 billion stabilization loan for Ukraine and issued the first tranche, $4.5 billion. However, the second tranche was suspended earlier this month, formally because there was no guarantee that Kiev would fulfill the IMF's requirement to cut expenses.

The European Union has upgraded its forecast of Ukraine's potential default to 50%. The IMF and Europe demanded that Yushchenko and Tymoshenko sign a declaration or a letter (in any format) of agreement to certain economic policies and reforms before it disburses the second tranche.

It seems that Europe has not yet shed some "Ukrainian illusions."

The opinions expressed in this article are the author's and do not necessarily represent those of RIA Novosti.


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