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

Mood Tense Ahead of Scotland Independence Vote

As race to persuade undecided voters continues, No voters say they believe life in Scotland will slowly improve and do not want to take a risk by endorsing independence More

South Africa’s 'Open Mosque' Admits Everyone, Including Critics

Open Mosque founder plans to welcome gay worshipers and allow women to lead prayers More

Ukrainian Activist in Despair About Future of Her Country

IrIna Dovgan, accused of being a spy and tortured by pro-Russian separatists, is appealing to UN Human Rights Council to support her country More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
NASA Picks Boeing, SpaceX to Carry Astronauts Into Spacei
X
September 17, 2014 4:20 AM
The U.S. space agency, NASA, has chosen Boeing and SpaceX companies to build the next generation of spacecraft that will carry U.S. astronauts to the International Space Station by the year 2017. The deal with private industry enables NASA to end its dependence on Russia to send space crews into low Earth orbit and back. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video NASA Picks Boeing, SpaceX to Carry Astronauts Into Space

The U.S. space agency, NASA, has chosen Boeing and SpaceX companies to build the next generation of spacecraft that will carry U.S. astronauts to the International Space Station by the year 2017. The deal with private industry enables NASA to end its dependence on Russia to send space crews into low Earth orbit and back. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Future of Ukrainian Former President's Estate Uncertain

More than six months after Ukraine's former President Viktor Yanukovych fled revolution to Russia, authorities have yet to gain control of his palatial estate. Protesters occupy the grounds and opened it to tourists but they are also refusing to turn it over to the state. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Mezhigirya, just north of Kyiv.
Video

Video China Muslims Work to Change Perceptions After Knife Attacks

China says its has sentenced three men to death and one woman to life in prison for a deadly knife attack in March that left more than 30 dead and 140 injured. Beijing says Muslim militants from China's restive western region of Xinjiang carried out the attacks. Now, more than six months after the incident, residents in the city are still coping with the aftermath. VOA's Bill Ide has more from Kunming.
Video

Video Enviropreneur Seeks to Save the Environment, Empower the Community

Lorna Rutto, a former banker, is now an ‘enviropreneur’ - turning plastic waste into furniture and fences discusses the challenges she faces in Africa with raw materials and the environment.
Video

Video West Trades Accusations Over Ransoms

As world leaders try to forge a common response to the threat posed by Islamic State militants in Iraq and Syria, there is simmering tension over differing policies on paying ransoms. In the past month, the jihadist group has beheaded two Americans and one Briton. Both countries refuse to pay ransom money. As Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London, there is uncertainty in the approach of some other European nations.
Video

Video Scotland Independence Bid Stokes Global Interest

The people of Scotland are preparing to vote on whether to become independent and break away from the rest of Britain, in a referendum being watched carefully in many other countries. Some see it as a risky experiment; while others hope a successful vote for independence might energize their own separatist demands. Foreign immigrants to Scotland have a front row seat for the vote. VOA’s Henry Ridgwell spoke to some of them in Edinburgh.
Video

Video Washington DC Mural Artists Help Beautify City

Like many cities, Washington has a graffiti problem. Buildings and homes, especially in low-income neighborhoods, are often targets of illegal artwork. But as we hear from VOA’s Julie Taboh, officials in the nation's capital have come up with an innovative program that uses the talents of local artists to beautify the city.
Video

Video US Muslim Leaders Condemn Islamic State

Leaders of America's Muslim community are condemning the violent extremism of the Islamic State group in Iraq and Syria. The U.S. Muslim leaders say militants are exploiting their faith in a failed effort to justify violent extremism. VOA correspondent Meredith Buel reports.
Video

Video Bedouin Woman Runs Successful Business in Palestinian City

A Bedouin woman is breaking social taboos by running a successful vacation resort in the Palestinian town of Jericho. Bedouins are a sub-group of Arabs known for their semi-nomadic lifestyle. Zlatica Hoke says the resort in the West Bank's Jordan Valley is a model of success for women in the region.


Carnage and mayhem are part of daily life in northern Nigeria, the result of a terror campaign by the Islamist group Boko Haram. Fears are growing that Nigeria’s government may not know how to counter it, and may be making things worse. More

AppleAndroid