Protests have erupted in Ukraine after President Viktor Yanukovych refused to sign an agreement aimed at strengthening ties and cooperation with the European Union. Instead, he seems intent on moving the country further into Russia’s orbit.
The violent clashes have revealed deep rooted division in Ukraine where the EU has promised investment. However, Russia has also offered the country financial support and reduced gas prices, threatening the Ukrainian government with financial repercussions if it goes ahead and signs the EU association agreement.
In October, just prior to the unrest, 50 percent of Ukrainians were in favour of signing the association agreement while 33 percent were against. When questioned about Ukraine becoming a member of the Customs Union of Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan, 48 percent of respondents stated that the country should join.
Most Ukrainians believed the Customs Union would create better markets for the country’s goods while a substantial majority believed cooperation with the EU would lead to economic modernization. Signing the EU association agreement would also result in more democracy and rule of law in the country, according to those polled.
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