News

Germany Threatens to Block Ukraine-EU Deal Over Jailed Opposition Leader

Former Ukrainian Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko shows what she says is an injury in the Kachanivska prison in Kharkiv, Ukraine, in this undated handout picture received April 27, 2012.
Former Ukrainian Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko shows what she says is an injury in the Kachanivska prison in Kharkiv, Ukraine, in this undated handout picture received April 27, 2012.

Germany's foreign minister is threatening to block a political and trade deal between Ukraine and the European Union if jailed opposition leader Yulia Tymoshenko is not given adequate health care.

Guido Westerwelle said on German television Wednesday that Germany cannot ratify an "association agreement" between the EU and Ukraine if Kiev does not abide by the rule of law. The agreement is one in a series of steps designed to deepen Ukraine's political and economic association with the European Union.

Westerwelle refused to say whether Germany would refrain from participating in the Euro 2012 football (soccer) tournament to be held in Ukraine starting in June. Austria and the Netherlands on Wednesday joined European Commission head Jose Manuel Barroso in saying they will not attend if Ms. Tymoshenko's conditions do not improve.

"We see no reason for ongoing discussions about a boycott," said Westerwelle. "We want to help Yulia Tymoshenko and others and we don't want to lose our influence to change the situation there."

The Ukrainian Foreign Ministry this week called the boycotts "Cold War tactics" and "artificial manipulation."

Ukraine and Poland are co-hosting Europe's most important football championship for national teams, from June 8 until July 1.

Czech President Vaclav Klaus and German President Joachim Gauck have both announced they will not attend a Yalta summit of Central European heads of state scheduled for May 11 and 12.  

Yulia Tymoshenko was sentenced to seven years in prison last year on charges of abuse of office in a 2009 gas deal with Russia. She is now standing trial on tax evasion charges that could extend her prison time to 12 years. Ms. Tymoshenko denies the charges and says they are part of a campaign by President Viktor Yanukovich to remove his strongest political rival.

She has been on a hunger strike for more than a week, after she said she was beaten by prison guards. German doctors diagnosed Ms. Tymoshenko last week with back problems that they say cannot be treated in Ukraine, but the Kyiv government has refused appeals to allow her to leave.

Ms. Tymoshenko's daughter, Yevgenia, told reporters in Prague Monday that her mother's health is deteriorating and called for European governments to keep up the pressure. She said she hopes the Ukraine government will take action so her mother will stop her hunger strike. The government has threatened to force-feed Ms. Tymoshenko if necessary.  

Some information for this report was provided by AP, AFP and Reuters.

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Nobel Prize Winner Malala Talks to VOAi
X
August 31, 2015 2:17 AM
Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai met with VOA's Deewa service in Washington Sunday to talk about women’s rights and unveil a trailer for her new documentary. VOA's Katherine Gypson has more.
Video

Video Nobel Prize Winner Malala Talks to VOA

Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai met with VOA's Deewa service in Washington Sunday to talk about women’s rights and unveil a trailer for her new documentary. VOA's Katherine Gypson has more.
Video

Video War, Drought Threaten Iraq's Marshlands

Iraq's southern wetlands are in crisis. These areas are the spawning ground for Gulf fisheries, a resting place for migrating wildfowl, and source of livelihood for fishermen and herders. Faith Lapidus has more.
Video

Video Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalates

Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Rebuilding New Orleans' Music Scene

Ten years after Hurricane Katrina inundated New Orleans, threatening to wash away its vibrant musical heritage along with its neighborhoods, the beat goes on. As Bronwyn Benito and Faith Lapidus report, a Musicians' Village is preserving the city's unique sound.
Video

Video In Russia, Auto Industry in Tailspin

Industry insiders say country relies too heavily on imports as inflation cuts too many consumers out of the market. Daniel Schearf has more from Moscow.
Video

Video Scientist Calls Use of Fetal Tissue in Medical Research Essential

An anti-abortion group responsible for secret recordings of workers at a women's health care organization claims the workers shown are offering baby parts for sale, a charge the organization strongly denies. While the selling of fetal tissue is against the law in the United States, abortion and the use of donated fetal tissue for medical research are both legal. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video Next to Iran, Climate at Forefront of Obama Agenda

President Barack Obama this week announced new initiatives aimed at making it easier for Americans to access renewable energy sources such as solar and wind. Obama is not slowing down when it comes to pushing through climate change measures, an issue he says is the greatest threat to the country’s national security. VOA correspondent Aru Pande has more from the White House.
Video

Video Arctic Draws International Competition for Oil

A new geopolitical “Great Game” is underway in earth’s northernmost region, the Arctic, where Russia has claimed a large area for resource development and President Barack Obama recently approved Shell Oil Company’s test-drilling project in an area under U.S. control. Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Philippine Maritime Police: Chinese Fishermen a Threat to Country’s Security

China and the Philippines both claim maritime rights in the South China Sea.  That includes the right to fish in those waters. Jason Strother reports on how the Philippines is catching Chinese nationals it says are illegal poachers. He has the story from Palawan province.
Video

Video China's Spratly Island Building Said to Light Up the Night 'Like A City'

Southeast Asian countries claim China has illegally seized territory in the Spratly islands. It is especially a concern for a Philippine mayor who says Beijing is occupying parts of his municipality. Jason Strother reports from the capital of Palawan province, Puerto Princesa.
Video

Video Ages-old Ice Reveals Secrets of Climate Change

Ice caps don't just exist at the world's poles. There are also tropical ice caps, and the largest sits atop the Peruvian Andes - but it is melting, quickly, and may be gone within the next 20 years. George Putic reports scientists are now rushing to take samples to get at the valuable information about climate change locked in the ice.

VOA Blogs