There are neighborhoods in Kyiv one might easily mistake for Paris, London, or New York: intricately decorated Victorian apartment buildings and townhouses mingle with sidewalk cafes, small parks and monuments, mid-century office blocks, and glass-fronted modern office towers. And stretching skyward from the crests of Kyiv’s famous seven hills are its unmistakably Slavic monuments—the onion domes and golden crosses of St. Michael’s and St. Sophia’s cathedrals, and the Caves Monastery.
Ukraine is in the news again, this time for its panicked response to a flu epidemic that has claimed over three hundred lives. In many countries, this would simply be a matter of public health, but in Ukraine, where politics is polarized by culture and region, an epidemic is another excuse for partisan wrangling. President Viktor Yushchenko is engaged in an escalating verbal battle with Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko, a onetime ally now angling for his job. A presidential election is scheduled for January 17.
Ukrainian Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko, who was officially nominated as candidate for president, told supporters that Kiev could build neighborly relations with Moscow, but its future lay with Europe.
A year after its war with Georgia, Russia is engaging in an increasingly hostile standoff with another pro-Western neighbor, Ukraine.
Ukraine is currently negotiating visa-free travel with the EU as part of a wide-ranging association agreement, as some of the country's politicians express hopes for a clearer "European perspective". EurActiv outlines various scenarios for Ukraine's expected rocky path towards closer EU integration.