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Ukraine corruption and Russian aggression both on table at EU summit

Conflicting objectives are likely to trouble a top-level meeting between Ukraine's President Petro Poroshenko and senior EU officials in Brussels

24 November 2016, 8:27am
Ukraine's President Petro Poroshenko will be meeting with Donald Tusk and Jean-Claude Juncker on Thursday to discuss anti-corruption measures
Ukraine's President Petro Poroshenko will be meeting with Donald Tusk and Jean-Claude Juncker on Thursday to discuss anti-corruption measures
Conflicting objectives are likely to trouble a top-level meeting between Ukraine's President Petro Poroshenko and senior EU officials in Brussels.

The summit with European Council President Donald Tusk and European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker is supposed to discuss anti-corruption measures demanded by the EU in exchange for visa-free travel, but Ukraine's foreign minister said the focus must be on Russian aggression and extending economic sanctions.

According to Brussels-badsed European affairs newspaper Politico, Poroshenko will want concrete signals that Brussels is not going to sideline its landmark trade accord with Ukraine, but will instead deepen ties. This comes at a time when the EU is embarking on a tentative détente with Putin by dropping its hard-line opposition to Russian energy projects.

Kiev is also reportedly concerned about Donald Trump's praise of Russian President Vladimir Putin during the US presidential campaign.

In 2014, Ukraine's then-President Viktor Yanukovych was forced from power amid corruption allegations.

Days later, the Crimea crisis began as gunmen seized key buildings in the region.

Measures to tackle endemic corruption are a key demand from the EU for visa-free travel from Ukraine, though, along with the US, it continues to support the country in its conflict with Russia.

Ukraine has created a new anti-corruption bureau, a new police force, new electronic systems for tendering government contracts, and a method for tracking the wealth of public officials and politicians.