And that may be just the start. Ukraine's dizzying geopolitical about-face appears to be picking up speed.
Experts say that Ukraine has been rapidly realigning itself away from the West and toward Moscow since the electoral triumph of Mr. Yanukovich, who heads the eastern Ukraine-based Party of Regions.
Yanukovich and Russian President Dmitry Medvedev have met five times since the February elections, including a meeting in Kharkov last week where the Ukrainian leader signed the naval accord in return for a 30 percent discount, worth about $40 billion over the next decade, in the price of Russian natural gas – upon which Ukraine's foundering economy is deeply dependent.
"Ukrainian politicians today have to be tough pragmatists," says Mikhail Pogrebinsky, director of the independent Center for Political and Conflict Studies in Kiev. "Half of our trade turnover is with Russia, and we just can't afford to be in a state of conflict with them. It's a practical and unsentimental deal."