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.
Turkey's Main Opposition Party Hopes for Election Breakthroughi
X
May 22, 2015 10:23 AM
Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party has sought an image change ahead of the June 7 general election. The move comes after suffering successive defeats at the hands of the Islamist-rooted AK Party, which has portrayed it as hostile to religion. Dorian Jones reports from the western city of Izmir.
Video

Video Turkey's Main Opposition Party Hopes for Election Breakthrough

Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party has sought an image change ahead of the June 7 general election. The move comes after suffering successive defeats at the hands of the Islamist-rooted AK Party, which has portrayed it as hostile to religion. Dorian Jones reports from the western city of Izmir.
Video

Video Europe Follows US Lead in Tackling ‘Conflict Minerals’

Metals mined from conflict zones in places like the Democratic Republic of Congo are often sold by warlords to buy weapons. This week European lawmakers voted to force manufacturers to prove that their supply chains are not inadvertently fueling conflicts and human rights abuses. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Class Tackles Questions of Race, Discrimination

Unrest in some U.S. cities is more than just a trending news item at Ladue Middle School in St. Louis, Missouri. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, it’s a focus of a multicultural studies class engaging students in wide-ranging discussions about racial tensions and police aggression.
Video

Video Mind-Controlled Prosthetics Are Getting Closer

Scientists and engineers are making substantial advances towards the ultimate goal in prosthetics – creation of limbs that can be controlled by the wearer’s mind. Thanks to sophisticated sensors capable of picking up the brain’s signals, an amputee in Iceland is literally bringing us one step closer to that goal. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Afghan Economy Sinks As Foreign Troops Depart

As international troops prepare to leave Afghanistan, and many foreign aid groups follow, Afghans are grappling with how the exodus will affect the country's fragile economy. Ayesha Tanzeem reports from the Afghan capital, Kabul.
Video

Video Poverty, Ignorance Force Underage Girls Into Marriage

The recent marriage of a 17-year old Chechen girl to a local police chief who was 30 years older and already had a wife caused an outcry in Russia and beyond. The bride was reportedly forced to marry and her parents were intimidated into giving their consent. The union spotlighted yet again the plight of many underage girls in developing countries. Zlatica Hoke reports poverty, ignorance and fear are behind the practice, especially in Asia and Africa.
Video

Video South Korea Marks Gwangju Uprising Anniversary

South Korea this week marked the 35th anniversary of a protest that turned deadly. The Gwangju Uprising is credited with starting the country’s democratic revolution after it was violently quelled by South Korea’s former military rulers. But as Jason Strother reports, some observers worry that democracy has recently been eroded.
Video

Video California’s Water System Not Created To Handle Current Drought

The drought in California is moving into its fourth year. While the state's governor is mandating a reduction in urban water use, most of the water used in California is for agriculture. But both city dwellers and farmers are feeling the impact of the drought. Some experts say the state’s water system was not created to handle long periods of drought. Elizabeth Lee reports from Ventura County, an agricultural region just northwest of Los Angeles.
Video

Video How to Clone a Mammoth: The Science of De-Extinction

An international team of scientists has sequenced the complete genome of the woolly mammoth. Led by the Swedish Museum of Natural History in Stockholm, the work opens the door to recreate the huge herbivore, which last roamed the Earth 4,000 years ago. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble considers the science of de-extinction and its place on the planet
Video

Video Blind Boy Defines His Life with Music

Cole Moran was born blind. He also has cognitive delays and other birth defects. He has to learn everything by ear. Nevertheless, the 12-year-old has had an insatiable love for music since he was born. VOA’s June Soh introduces us to the young phenomenal harmonica player.

VOA Blogs