Former President Viktor Yushchenko warned that the European Union's reluctance to offer a clear path to membership puts Ukraine at risk of falling into Russia's orbit and style of governance.

His comment in an interview to Wall Street Journal highlights the pivotal decision facing Yushchenko's successor, Viktor Yanukovych, who travels to Moscow on Saturday for talks with Russian President Dmitry Medvedev that could set this former Soviet republic's course.

"Concrete offers are 10 times more valuable than concrete ambitions," said Yushchenko.

In Russia, Yushchenko said, "there is a different kind of politics. If you want to be in the customs union, you will be in the customs union in a couple of weeks."

Yushchenko warned that agreeing to Russia's demands for closer relations would consign Ukraine to the authoritarian style of governance favored by Moscow.

"If you see yourself in a single economic space with Russia and Belarus and the customs union," he said, "you build an iron curtain and choose different freedoms, or rather nonfreedoms, different values."


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