Photo Gallery 'A Majority Is in Favor of Closer Ties'

Aleksander Kwaniewski led negotiations with Ukraine for a collapsed association agreement with the EU. Now he criticizes officials in Russia for understimating Russia's intentions and a Ukrainian president who ignored his own people.
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Here, heavy weight world boxing champion and leader of the UDAR (Punch) political party Vitaly Klitschko can be seen in Kiev. In his interview with SPIEGEL, former President Kwasniewski said "a majority is in favor of closer ties" with the EU in Ukraine.

Foto: Alexey Furman/ dpa
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Kwasniewski says the decision made shortly before the EU summit in Vilnius, "namely to rebuff Brussels, came as a surprise."

Foto: Sergey Dolzhenko/ picture alliance / dpa
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Thousands of people have been protesting in the streets of Kiev following the decision by Yanukovych to suspend the signing of the trade and partnership agreement with the European Union in favor of incentives from Russia. "Ukraine is not an ideal country, nor will it be one for a long time to come," former Polish President Kwasniewski told SPIEGEL. "But we have the opportunity to introduce it to our standards. If we don't do that, Kiev will follow the Russian and the Belarusian model."

Foto: Brendan Hoffman/ Getty Images
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Here, Ukrainian protesters stand atop a monument after the toppling of a statue of Vladimir Lenin on Sunday. An estimated 200,000 people showed up for the demonstration. "Ukraine was strongly under Russia's influence for centuries, and its people experienced a very brutal form of communism," Kwasniewski said. "Only a European strategy will help Ukraine emerge from the crisis."

Foto: AP/dpa
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Here, demonstrators can be seen destroying the Lenin statue.

Foto: AP/dpa