Now, as European countries close their borders
and those migrants lose their jobs amid the quarantine, they are hurrying home, which could have a
major impact on the socioeconomic situation in western Ukraine.
Restricting access to the
EU labor market could lead to a growth in Euroskepticism in Ukrainian society. People there are
watching with trepidation as national egoism triumphs over European solidarity in the fight against
the virus. The apparent indifference of EU officials to the problems faced by Italy and Spain, and
the sight of each EU country waging its own battle against the coronavirus, is pouring cold water on
Ukrainians' ambition to join the EU. In the long run, this could strengthen the pro-Russia cause in
Ukrainian politics, though a lot will depend on how effectively Russia manages to deal with the
The coronavirus pandemic will significantly alter the global agenda. Ukraine,
which has gotten used to its problems being among the world community's priorities, must be prepared
to see the issues of Crimea and Donbas take a back seat amid everything else that is happening.
First and foremost, Kiev will have to reach an understanding with Moscow, which will not fail to
turn the situation to its advantage. The signing of an agreement by Ukraine and Russia on setting up
an advisory group that includes representatives of Ukraine's breakaway territories has already
angered the "patriotic" opposition, who have accused Zelensky of legalizing the separatists.