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Yushchenko will not interrupt his vacation for Medvedev

By Temuri Kiguradze
Thursday, August 13
Ukrainian President Viktor Yushchenko will answer Dmitry Medvedev’s address after he comes back from his vacation, stated his press office on August 12.

On Tuesday Russian leader Medvedev accused his Ukrainian counterpart of conducting “anti-Russian” policy and announced that Russia will refrain from appointing a new Ambassador to Ukraine until Russian-Ukrainian relations improve. “Medvedev has made this statement during his vacation and I think our [Ukrainian] President will not interrupt his rest for such an attestation,” stated the Deputy Head of the Yushchenko’s Secretariat Alexander Shlapak on August 12.

As Yushchenko is on vacation the head of pro-Yushchenko Nasha Ukraina party, Vera Ulyanchenko, has stated that Medvedev’s letter is “aggressive” and causes “not only pity, but also indignation and worry concerning the political tactics and strategy of the Russian Federation.” She also noted that the Kremlin conducts “constant anti-Ukrainian zombifying.” “The Russian Government has become a hostage of its imperialistic complexes, which force it to turn all the neighbouring countries into external enemies and talk to them only in the language of threat,” Vera Ulyanchenko noted. “We have seen several times that Russia has violated agreements signed with Ukraine and the gas conflict, which was negatively assessed in Ukraine as well as the EU, was inspired exactly by Russia’s incorrect policy,” she added.

The party of Yulia Tymoshenko, who is considered to be the most realistic opponent of Yushchenko at the forthcoming Ukrainian Presidential elections, has refrained from commenting on Medvedev’s statement. “While the Presidents chat, Yulia works,” a party spokesperson said, as quoted by the Ukrainian media on Wednesday. Valery Pisarenko, an MP from Tymoshenko’s bloc, evaluated Medvedev’s letter as “adequate” on August 11 but later retracted this, saying he had spoken “before he had read the complete message.”

The Kremlin has now made an additional statement, explaining that Medvedev’s address was sent to Yushchenko and not “the Ukrainian people.” "The message cannot be construed as aggressive. It is a calm and balanced assertion of how the policies of Ukraine's incumbent President have affected Russian-Ukrainian relations. Therefore it was aimed at him [Viktor Yushchenko] personally," Alexei Gromov, a Deputy Kremlin administration chief, said.

Medvedev’s letter was one of the top news stories in Georgia, as amongst other things it criticised Yushchenko for his support of Georgia during last August’s war. “A negative public reaction was created by Ukraine's anti-Russian stance in connection with the brutal attack on South Ossetia by Saakashvili's regime. A year after those tragic events, once again the question of why civilians and Russian peacekeepers in Tskhinval [the Russified name of the South Ossetian de facto capital Tskhinvali] were killed with Ukrainian weapons has arisen. Those in Kiev who supplied the Georgian Army with weapons and, by the way, do not intend to stop doing so, fully share with Tbilisi the responsibility for the committed crimes,” stated the President of Russia.

Georgian Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Alexander Nalbandov stated that this address once again confirms that the most important foreign policy instruments of the Kremlin are “blackmail, weapons, threat and aggression.” “Russia has no capability, or does not want, to talk to sovereign states in a civilized way,” stated Nalbandov on August 11, appealing to the international community to pay “proper attention” to Medvedev’s letter.

Viktor Yushchenko was the leader of Ukraine's "Orange Revolution" in 2004, which altered the political direction of the state to one of seeking Euro-Atlantic integration. This alteration caused protest from the Russian side. Medvedev’s letter has arrived in a pre-election period; the next Ukrainian Presidential election is scheduled for January 17, 2009.