For Ukraine, the forthcoming November 2013 Eastern Partnership summit in Vilnius will be a watershed. It is then that the European Union will decide whether Ukraine has satisfied the conditions for signature of an EU–Ukraine Association Agreement and the establishment of a Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Area (DCFTA).
When Ukraine is serious about integrating with the EU, the EU should welcome it de facto and de jure. Association should be offered with clear conditions but without deadlines or 'now or never' propositions.
Russia should be accorded no 'special rights' in this process. The reality is that Russia will play a role in the process whether it is accorded one or not. The significance of that role will depend in large part upon the strength of Ukraine: the competence of the state authorities, the professionalism of its institutions and the ability of state and society,