News / Europe

EU Puts Fresh Pressure on Ukraine Over Tymoshenko, Reforms

Poland's FM Radoslaw Sikorski (2nd L), with other EU diplomats in Kiev, April 25, 2013Poland's FM Radoslaw Sikorski (2nd L), with other EU diplomats in Kiev, April 25, 2013
x
Poland's FM Radoslaw Sikorski (2nd L), with other EU diplomats in Kiev, April 25, 2013
Poland's FM Radoslaw Sikorski (2nd L), with other EU diplomats in Kiev, April 25, 2013
Reuters
Foreign ministers of several EU countries gave Ukraine a discouraging report on Thursday on its efforts to deepen ties with the bloc and suggested the jailing of opposition leader Yulia Tymoshenko remained a serious obstacle.
       
They said agreements on free trade and political association with the European Union were being stymied in particular by cases of "selective justice'', a term used by the West to describe the prosecution of rival politicians, including former prime minister Tymoshenko, under President Viktor Yanukovich.
       
Ukraine hopes to sign the deals at a summit in Vilnius in November. But Brussels has made it conditional on Kiev passing a number of legal reforms and addressing Western criticism of its justice and electoral systems.
       
"The stakes are very high and time is very short,'' Polish Foreign Minister Radoslaw Sikorski told reporters in Kiev on Thursday after meeting Yanukovich together with his colleagues from Lithuania, Denmark and the Netherlands.
       
"If the decision was to be taken now, I'm afraid, the answer on the signing would be 'no','' he said.
       
Yanukovich this month pardoned two former members of Tymoshenko's government who had been jailed on abuse-of-office charges, a move welcomed by Brussels.
       
But diplomats and analysts say he might be reluctant to do the same with regards to Tymoshenko, his fiercest political foe who led the 2004 Orange Revolution protests, derailing his first bid for presidency.
       
FILE - Ukraine's Prime Minister and presidential candidate Yulia Tymoshenko chairs a cabinet meeting in Kiev, February 11, 2010.FILE - Ukraine's Prime Minister and presidential candidate Yulia Tymoshenko chairs a cabinet meeting in Kiev, February 11, 2010.
x
FILE - Ukraine's Prime Minister and presidential candidate Yulia Tymoshenko chairs a cabinet meeting in Kiev, February 11, 2010.
FILE - Ukraine's Prime Minister and presidential candidate Yulia Tymoshenko chairs a cabinet meeting in Kiev, February 11, 2010.
Tymoshenko was sentenced to seven years in prison in October 2011 on charges related to a 2009 gas deal with Russia which Yanukovich says has saddled Ukraine with exorbitant energy prices.
       
Since last May, Tymoshenko, who has served twice as prime minister before narrowly losing the 2010 presidential run-off to Yanukovich, has been receiving treatment for back trouble in a state-run hospital in the city of Kharkiv.
       
Yanukovich himself says he cannot order her release because Tymoshenko is also due to be tried on tax evasion and embezzlement charges and is being investigated in a murder case. She has denied all charges against her.
       
The EU shelved the deals with Ukraine over Tymoshenko in 2011, when they were initially due to be signed.
       
"You [Ukraine] have to dismiss all doubts about selective justice,'' Lithuanian Foreign Minister Linas Linkevicius told reporters when asked about Tymoshenko.
       
The EU says a deal needs to be sealed this year before the bloc turns its focus to European Parliament elections in 2014 and Ukraine itself holds a presidential election in 2015.
       
Poland's Sikorski urged Ukraine to act quickly.
       
"Ukraine has three critical months to do what is necessary... if we fail, we can spend decades, maybe generations arguing what went wrong,'' he said.

You May Like

Video Falling Gas Prices Impact US Oil Extraction

With the price of oil now less than $80 a barrel, motorists throughout the US are seeing gas prices dip below $3 a gallon More

Afghan Women's Soccer Team Building for the Future

A four-team female league was recently set up in Kabul; It will help identify players for the national team More

Video Koreas on Edge Amid Live-fire Drills

Pyongyang threatens nuclear test as joint US, S. Korean exercises show forces’ capabilities More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
New Skateboard Defies Gravityi
X
November 21, 2014 5:07 AM
A futuristic dream only a couple of decades ago, the hoverboard – a skateboard that floats above the ground - has finally been made possible. While still not ready for mass production, it promises to become a cool mode of transport... at least over some surfaces. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video New Skateboard Defies Gravity

A futuristic dream only a couple of decades ago, the hoverboard – a skateboard that floats above the ground - has finally been made possible. While still not ready for mass production, it promises to become a cool mode of transport... at least over some surfaces. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Falling Gas Prices Impact US Oil Extraction

With the price of oil now less than $80 a barrel, motorists throughout the United States are benefiting from gas prices below $3 a gallon. But as VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, the decreasing price of petroleum has a downside for the hydraulic fracturing industry in the United States.
Video

Video Tensions Build on Korean Peninsula Amid Military Drills

It has been another tense week on the Korean peninsula as Pyongyang threatened to again test nuclear weapons while the U.S. and South Korean forces held joint military exercises in a show of force. VOA’s Brian Padden reports from the Kunsan Air Base in South Korea.
Video

Video Mama Sarah Obama Honored at UN Women’s Entrepreneurship Day

President Barack Obama's step-grandmother is in the United States to raise money to build a $12 million school and hospital center in Kogelo, Kenya, the birthplace of the president's father, Barack Obama, Sr. She was honored for her decades of work to aid poor Kenyans at a Women's Entrepreneurship Day at the United Nations.
Video

Video Gay Evangelicals Argue That Bible Does Not Condemn Homosexuality

More than 30 U.S. states now recognize same-sex marriages, and an increasing number of mainline American churches are blessing them. But evangelical church members- which account for around 30 percent of the U.S. adult population - believe the Bible unequivocally condemns homosexuality. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports that gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender evangelicals are coming out. Backed by a prominent evangelical scholar, they argue that the traditional reading of the bible is wrong.
Video

Video Ebola Economic Toll Stirs W. Africa Food Security Concerns

The World Bank said Wednesday that it expects the economic impact of the Ebola outbreak on the sub-Saharan economy to cost somewhere betweenf $3 billion to $4 billion - well below a previously-outlined worst-case scenario of $32 billion. Some economists, however, paint a gloomier picture - warning that the disruption to regional markets and trading is considerable. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Mexico Protests Escalate Over Disappearances

Protests in Mexico over 43 students missing since September continue to escalate, reflecting growing anger among Mexicans about a political system they view as corrupt, and increasingly tainted by the drug trade. Mounting outrage over the disappearances is now focused on the government of President Enrique Pena Nieto, accused of not doing enough to end insecurity in the country. More from VOA's Victoria Macchi.
Video

Video US Senate Votes Down Controversial Oil Pipeline - For Now

The U.S. Senate has rejected construction of a controversial pipeline to transport Canadian oil to American refineries. The $5 billion project still could be approved next year, but it faces a possible veto by President Barack Obama. As VOA’s Michael Bowman reports, the pipeline has exposed deep divisions in Congress about America’s energy future.
Video

Video Can Minsk Cease-fire Agreement Hold?

Growing tensions between government troops and separatists in eastern Ukraine further threaten a cease-fire agreement reached two months ago in the Belarusian capital of Minsk. Critics of U.S. policy in Ukraine say it is time the Obama administration gives up on that much-violated cease-fire and moves toward a new deal with Russia. VOA's Scott Stearns has more.
Video

Video Chaos, Abuse Defy Solution in Libya

The political and security crisis in Libya is deepening, with competing governments and, according to Amnesty International, widespread human rights violations committed with impunity. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Video

Video US Hosts Record 866,000 Foreign Students

Close to 900,000 international students are studying at American universities and colleges, more than ever before. About half of them come from Asia, mostly China. The United States hosts more foreign students than any other country in the world, and its foreign student population is steadily growing. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Ferguson Church Grapples with Race Relations

Many white residents of Ferguson, Missouri, say they chose to live there because of the American Midwest community's diversity. So, they were shocked when a white police officer killed an unarmed black teenager in August – and shaken by the resulting protests and violence. Some local churches are leading conversations on how to go forward. VOA’s Ayesha Tanzeem reports.

All About America

AppleAndroid