The European Union has pledged €610m in financial support to Ukraine while European Council President Herman Van Rompuy has said Kiev must demonstrate “determined action” on a host of areas, including judicial reform, before May, if there is to be a trade deal between the two sides before the end of the year. In order to qualify for the financial aid, the Ukraine must also secure the support of the International Monetary Fund.

For the European Voice, the move will put Ukraine under “intense pressure to accelerate reforms,” adding that Kiev must address the issue of “selective justice”, such as the jail terms handed down to four politicians, including former prime minister Yulia Tymoshenko.

An editorial written in European Voice ahead of the EU announcement urged Ukraine’s president, Viktor Yanukovych, to “show the EU [the country] is serious about reform,” adding –

Yanukovych's only viable option is to reform aggressively at home along the lines demanded by the Commission, reinforcing this by showing what Ukraine is capable of internationally [...] Yanukovych cannot expect the EU's member states to take gambles on Ukraine, if he himself is not prepared to take gambles on reform that he says are in Ukraine's own interests.

Meanwhile, Gazeta Wyborcza insists,

“It is high time Kiev made a historic choice between turning East, where Vladimir Putin is trying to lure it with cheap gas, or […] signing an association agreement with the EU”. According to the Warsaw daily –

Kiev has a tough choice ahead of it. [...] It would be best to take advantage of the cheap gas and open the rich Russian market but at the same time have Western loans and technologies. And no-visa travel to Europe would be yet another bonus, if granted. A very pragmatic attitude indeed.