Russian President Dmitry Medvedev announced today that his government will postpone sending a new ambassador to the Ukraine until he sees a prospect for “real developments in Russian-Ukrainian relations.” He also publicly chastized Ukrainian President Viktor Yushchenko in an open letter released through the Kremlin web site.
In the letter Medvedev cautioned that Yushchenko’s “anti-Russia” stance had seriously damaged relations between the two nations, and expressed hope that January’s elections will see the installation of new leadership in the nation which will mean the return to close ties between the two.
Yushchenko took power in the Ukraine following a disputed series of votes in 2004 and the “Orange Revolution” a series of protests against the pro-Russian government at the time. Since then he has sought to strengthen ties with the West and hopes to oust Russia from a naval base in the Crimea as a step toward joining NATO.
The Ukrainian president has yet to respond to the open letter, though a reaction is promised. Other members of the ruling coalition have accused Medvedev of trying to sway the election. Opposition leader Viktor Yanukovych’s party termed the decision to withhold the ambassador “lamentable but consistent,” and Yanukovych, who was Yushchenko’s opponent in the pre-revolution vote, has promised to resume friendly ties with Russia if he manages to regain power in January.