Zbigniew Brzezinski is strangely confident that the EU and Ukraine can work out a new deal, but the terms he describes would seem to make it a non-starter for both sides:
In the next months some sort of a deal between the EU and Ukraine can still be contrived. To facilitate it, the EU must be more receptive to Kiev’s need for economic and financial support. Ukrainians have to realise that European taxpayers are not enchanted by the prospect of paying for the misdeeds and corruption of the current Kiev elite. Belt-tightening will be the necessary precondition for an agreement as well as a test of Ukraine’s resolve in asserting its European aspirations. Kiev will also need to show that the outcome of elections is not determined by the imprisonment of political rivals.
This would require that the EU agree to offer more generous terms that it previously refused to offer because it didn’t want to get in a “bidding war” with Moscow. That doesn’t seem likely to happen. It would also seem to require Yanukovych to release his rival from prison, but this already proved to be one of the more significant deal-breakers. If such a deal could have been worked out at an earlier point, it is likely too late now that Yanukovych’s political survival is threatened. Having come this far to derail the deal, it is implausible that Moscow would not follow through with its threatened economic punishment. As Mark Adomanis notes in a recent article, accepting the deal with the EU is no longer politically possible for Yanukovych:
It would cause too much short-term harm to the Ukrainian economy by inflating an already huge current account deficit and would likely spark retaliatory Russian trade sanctions. It’s also worth considering that, at this point, signing the association agreement would be an unmitigated display of weakness, and [one] that someone in Yanukovych’s position can ill afford that type of display.
Adomanis goes on to say that since Yanukovych’s priority is to retain power, he needs to delay economically painful reforms for as long as he can to give himself any chance of winning the next election. “Belt-tightening” is the last thing that he will want to accept. Having provoked the opposition, he cannot now afford to alienate the rest of the country with reform measures that are bound to be unpopular.