Ukrainians divided on Russia

The World

Cheney’s message to Ukraine will probably be similar to his messages to Georgia. He’s saying that America would protect young democracies living in Russia’s shadow. But here in Kiev, he may find his message of unity and solidarity harder to swallow. The Ukrainian Prime Minister has accused her rival, the President, of trying to bring down the government. This country is in the middle of a political crisis, caused in part by a division on how to respond to the events in Georgia. The President has been staunchly in favor of Georgia, while the Prime Minister has been more subdued. Some here fear parts of Ukraine may be next in Moscow’s sights and only a fast track to NATO membership could secure the nation’s independence. The trouble is polls suggest the majority of votrs would reject membership if a referendum were held tomorrow, and Russia is dead set against Ukraine joining NATO. Some therefore feel it’s more prudent to avoid antagonizing Russia further. For the average Ukrainian, it seems wise to take a moderate position on the issue. So although Vice President Cheney is likely to see eye to eye with Ukraine’s President, public opinion is a different matter, and so is the opinion of some Ukrainian politicians.

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