Yulia Tymoshenko’s appearance on 1+1 Channel’s ‘Right to Power’ program during which she statedUkrainians should not rely on any external advice in order to build a strong Ukraine. Her website reported that ‘Tymoshenko believes that to build a fundamentally new quality of life, revive its economy and establish a high quality of life for its citizens Ukraine should rely solely on its own strength, and not on external advice.’ Tymoshenko told the program ‘Right to Power’ ‘If someone tells you that everyone in the world wants Ukraine to be a strong and powerful competitor – with its land, resources and the intellect of the Ukrainian nation – it’s not true. The competition in the world is tough and sometimes brutal, and nobody wants to raise our country, except we ourselves.’
The statement is at odds with her Batkivshchina party’s goal of joining NATO and the EU as during the process of joining a prospective member is given a very detailed list of what reforms need to be undertaken. Becoming a member entails allowing Brussels a very intrusive intervention in a country’s domestic affairs which is accepted because the final goal of membership is viewed as worthwhile.
This is not the first time Tymoshenko has on the one hand opposed IMF conditionality that comes with financial assistance while claiming she and the party she leads Batkivshchina supports EU membership. Financial assistance by the EU and Western governments is only offered after an IMF agreement is in place and therefore these institutions are closely linked. Her comments therefore fly in the face of on the one hand accepting Western financial assistance and military support the West has provided to Kyiv since the Euromaidan Revolution which came with stringent conditionality.
During the Poroshenko presidency, the U.S. has provided Ukraine with over $1 billion in security assistance. America’s “Ukraine Freedom Support Act” included providing Ukraine with Javelin anti-tank missile systems and anti-armor weapons, and Washington also granted approval for the sale of U.S. sniper rifles, scopes, and ammunition to Kyiv. It is without any doubt correct when long-term former US Helsinki Commission staffer Orest Deychakivsky who says the US has been Ukraine’s strongest Western supporter over the last century.