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 On the Scene: In Gaza, Darkness Brings Dread and Death

Palestinians fear nighttime raids, many feel abandoned by outside world, VOA's Scott Bobb reports More

African Small Farmers Could Be Key to Ending Food Insecurity

Experts say providing access to microloans, crop insurance, better storage facilities, irrigation, road systems and market information could enable greater production More

University of Michigan Wins Solar Car Race

Squad guided its student-designed solar-powered vehicle to fifth consecutive time victory in eight-day bi-annual American Solar Challenge More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spati
X
Reasey Poch
July 28, 2014 7:18 PM
China recently pulled an oil rig from an area of the disputed South China Sea that Vietnam also claims. Despite the action, the incident has had a lingering effect on consumers in Vietnam. VOA's Reasey Poch reports from Hanoi on an effort to boycott Chinese products.
Video

Video Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spat

China recently pulled an oil rig from an area of the disputed South China Sea that Vietnam also claims. Despite the action, the incident has had a lingering effect on consumers in Vietnam. VOA's Reasey Poch reports from Hanoi on an effort to boycott Chinese products.
Video

Video ESA Spacecraft to Land on a Comet

After a long flight through deep space, a European Space Agency probe is finally approaching its target -- a comet millions of kilometers away from earth. Scientists say the mission may lead to some startling discoveries about the origins of the water on earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Young Africans Arrive in US for Leadership Program

President Barack Obama's Young African Leadership Initiative has brought hundreds of young Africans to the United States for a six-week program aimed at building their knowledge and skills in fields such as public administration and business. Out of the 50,000 young Africans who applied for the program, just one percent was accepted. VOA's Laurel Bowman caught up with some of those who made the cut and has this report.
Video

Video In Honduras, Amnesty Rumors Fuel US Migration Surges

False rumors in Central America are fueling the current surge of undocumented young people being apprehended at the U.S. border. The inaccurate claims suggest the U.S. will give amnesty to young migrants from the region. As VOA's Brian Padden reports from Honduras, these rumors trace back to President Obama's 2012 executive order to halt deportations for some young undocumented immigrants already living in the United States.
Video

Video Students in Business for Themselves

They're only high school students, but they are making accessories for shoes, fabricating backpacks and doing product photography - all through their own businesses. It's the result of a partnership between a non-profit organization that teaches entrepreneurship and their schools. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan and Deyane Moses met the budding entrepreneurs near Los Angeles.
Video

Video Astronauts Train in Underwater Lab

In the world’s only underwater laboratory, four U.S. astronauts train for a planned visit to an asteroid. The lab - called Aquarius- is located five kilometers off Key Largo, in southern Florida. Living in close quarters and making excursions only into the surrounding ocean, they try to simulate the daily routine of a crew that will someday travel to collect samples of a rock orbiting far away from earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.

AppleAndroid