Q: The Ukranian opposition was offered leadership positions by President Viktor F. Yanukovych in a revised national government. Why did they refuse and what’s at stake?
A: The opposition refused because the offer was a trap. Entering government under the current presidential constitution would give the opposition little power to introduce reforms as the government would come under the control of the discredited president. The opposition therefore stated their position that they would agree to join a technocratic provisional government if the constitution was changed back to a parliamentary system (placing the government in the control of a parliamentary majority). This in turn would require pre-term elections as currently the Party of Regions has a majority.
Instability in Ukraine is the biggest crisis along the EU border since Yugoslavia, but you would not notice this from Brussels. Ukraine borders four EU and NATO members. In the Crimea three countries have interests – Russia, Ukraine and Turkey.
—Taras Kuzio is the author of The Crimea: Europe’s Next Flashpoint? He is an expert in Ukrainian political, economic and security affairs and a Research Associate, Centre for Political and Regional Studies, Canadian Institute of Ukrainian Studies, University of Alberta.