Edward LUCAS, editor of the International Section at The Economist:
My quick comment: the EU never realized what it was up against. It thought that Ukraine would reform, and that Russia would allow it to do so. Both assumptions were wrong. Yanukovych has no interest in changes that would destroy his political machine. He doesn’t want to end up like Yulia. And Russia was not going to allow even a symbolic victory for the EU in a country that it regards as central to its own security.
The EU could have done a lot more. It could have engaged with Ukrainian society. It could have offered a real membership perspective. It could have pushed the Slovak-Ukraine reverse flow of gas harder and earlier. It could have made it clear to Russia that interference was unacceptable. Instead it made a big deal of Tymoshenko which is essentially a peripheral issue.
The game is not over. Putin’s political and economic model doesn’t have a future. Europe’s does. We will try to do better next time. In the meantime we can only say “sorry” to the brave Ukrainians who understand our ideals better than we do ourselves.