Some lawmakers in the European Parliament positively evaluated the latest visit of the delegation of Opposition Bloc - For Life to Russia. The political party's leaders Viktor Medvedchuk and Yuriy Boiko held negotiations with Russian Premier Dmitriy Medvedev and CEO of Gazprom energy monopolist Aleksei Miller. The talks were focused on resuming direct supplies of the Russian gas to Ukraine and keeping the transit across the Ukrainian gas transport system.
The ride of two pro-Kremlin politicians evoked an outrage of President Petro Poroshenko, not to mention a certain part of the Ukrainian society. A number of members of the European Parliament, however, supported this initiative.
MEP Nicholas Bay (France)
To me, the fact that some presidential candidates offer a rapprochement with Russia is a very good initiative - as long as it contributes to the de-escalation of conflict. It's in everybody's interest - that of Ukraine, Russia and the EU. We also depend on the Russian gas (that makes some 40 percent of the total consumption. It is obvious that Ukraine should be playing an important role in fixing our relationships - despite the fact that certain pro-Western forces in Ukraine play their own game, and it's against Russia. And that, actually, does not meet the interests of Ukraine or Europe. One has to act, watching Russia and Europe alike. This is the Ukrainian specifics, which we should respect. But that positions should be used for being a mediator in fixing Russian-European relations, both political and economic ones.
The European politician insisted that the talks are 'necessary for healthy political relations'.
MEP Jiří Payne (Czech Republic):
Negotiations mean that we can communicate and avoid conflict. And it is the same with Ukraine. I would like Ukraine to establish ties with Europe. After all, communication works. The same goes for contacts with Russia: it is necessary to talk and work together. If there is any possibility for negotiations (no matter if it is gas or fuel), you need to communicate. This is the way to build political relations.
At the same time, Viktor Medvedchuk believes that breaking relations with the Russian Federation and the CIS countries and reorienting to the European market was a disastrous decision for Ukrainian economy. He sees a resource for growth of the Ukrainian economy and welfare of citizens in restoring economic cooperation with the Russian Federation.
Viktor Medvedchuk, chairman of the political council of Opposition platform – For Life:
We, from our political power, will do everything we can, to begin the process of restoring pragmatic economic relations, primarily in the interests of Ukraine, the country, and the Ukrainian people, and make sure it continues. This is our strategic goal. We are confident that it is correct, and we will do everything to achieve this goal.