Here the Wall Street Journal details the back and forth between the U.S. and the EU on one side and the Yanukovych administration on the other in attempting to bring Ukraine closer to the EU and the West.
Strategically, the Obama administration decided to take a back seat to Europe because of concerns that assuming the lead in Ukraine might backfire if Russia saw theEuropean Union pact as a part of a superpower “Great Game” competition.
Even with Russian troops streaming into Crimea, administration officials said Monday it wasn’t clear if the outcome would have been any different had the U.S. taken a bigger role from the start. “The truth is Yanukovych left, and the new government is much more Western leaning. This is not a win for Russia,” a senior administration official said.
Talks between the EU and Ukraine date to the breakup of the Soviet Union, but in recent years they have focused on a sweeping trade and political pact known as the Association Agreement. In 2012, Ukraine and the EU initialed an agreement that, once final, would draw them closer.
The U.S. thought the Ukrainian leader might be bluffing about signing the Europe pact until mid-2013, when Mr. Yanukovych began taking more concrete steps.
To bring Mr. Yanukovych closer to the West without provoking Russia, the U.S. and the EU settled on an informal division of labor, U.S. and European officials said.
The EU’s job was to get the pact signed by a November 2013 deadline. The U.S. would work with the International Monetary Fund to get Kiev to agree to tough economic reforms.