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Last Updated: Friday, 14 September 2007, 04:06 GMT 05:06 UK
EU summit monitors Ukraine gains
By Helen Fawkes
BBC News, Kiev

President Viktor Yushchenko (l) and PM Viktor Yanukovych
Yushchenko (l) and Yanukovych will co-host the summit
The European Union is holding a summit in Ukraine on Friday but it is likely to be overshadowed by political uncertainty in the country.

A bitter power struggle between the country's leaders led to an early election being called.

The summit is due to be attended by the presidents of the European Union and the European Commission.

The event hosted by Ukraine's president and prime minister will discuss the progress the country has made.

Ukraine became a pro-Western country almost three years ago.

Following the mass protests of the 2004 Orange Revolution this former Soviet republic turned its back on Russia and made membership of the European Union one of its top priorities.

Expectations of Ukraine were high.

While the country has become more democratic, the pace of reform has been slow and there has been one crisis after another.

A former Ukrainian foreign minister told me that there is frustration in Brussels at the continuing political turmoil.

At the heart of this is a power struggle between the president and the prime minister.

But despite this instability, President Viktor Yushchenko says there is agreement over Ukraine's European position.

"This direction of Ukrainian politics has no alternatives," said Mr Yushchenko.

"It is not just a matter of fashion that we move towards the West. It means that Ukraine will grow stronger, and that we will be able to work towards European integration and Nato."

This summit was organised long before the early election was called for late September.

It is expected that President Yushchenko and Prime Minister Viktor Yanukovych will be told that the vote in two weeks' time will be a key test of the country's democracy and its commitment to European values.

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