News / Europe

Ukraine Under Increasing Fire Over Jailed Ex-PM

Former Ukrainian Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko waves to supporters from a prison window in Kyiv, Ukraine, November 4, 2011.Former Ukrainian Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko waves to supporters from a prison window in Kyiv, Ukraine, November 4, 2011.
x
Former Ukrainian Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko waves to supporters from a prison window in Kyiv, Ukraine, November 4, 2011.
Former Ukrainian Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko waves to supporters from a prison window in Kyiv, Ukraine, November 4, 2011.
MOSCOW - The government of Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych has given the European Union permission to send specialists to assess the condition of jailed former prime minister Yulia Tymoshenko, who says she was beaten by prison guards last month while being transferred to a hospital for treatment of a back condition.  Meanwhile, criticism in connection with Tymoshenko's incarceration is mounting in the West, with some European leaders threatening to boycott the Euro 2012 football championship in Kyiv next month.

Tymoshenko was convicted last year on charges of abusing power while in office -- charges she and her supporters, along with the EU and the United States, say were politically motivated.  

Tymoshenko, who was sentenced to seven years in prison, went on a hunger strike last month after accusing prison staff of beating her while she was being transferred to a hospital.  Ukrainian officials deny the charges.

Ukrainian Prime Minister Mykola Azarov alluded to the controversy about Ms. Tymoshenko's treatment in a speech he gave to the European Parliament while visiting Brussels Wednesday.  He accused political opponents of "unscrupulously misinforming and deluding" European officials.

The EU has warned Kyiv it will not sign agreements on political association and a free-trade zone if Ms. Tymoshenko remains in prison.  Earlier this month, Ukraine's government was forced to postpone a Central and Eastern European summit in Yalta after European leaders threatened to boycott it. European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso has said he will not attend the Euro 2012 football ((soccer)) championship in Kyiv next month and other European leaders could follow suit.

But some observers question whether such actions will have an impact on President Yanukovych's government.

Taras Kuzio of Johns Hopkins University's School of Advanced International Studies in Washington, says there is no way the government will free Ms. Tymoshenko or other jailed opponents, such as former Interior Minister Yuriy Lutsenko -- at least before Ukraine's parliamentary elections in October.

"The priority for them is to obtain a parliamentary majority, because they see that as a stepping stone to Yanukovych winning a second term in 2015.  So there will be no softening of the official position on these individuals who are incarcerated for political reasons, because the priority for Viktor Yanukovych is not European integration.  The priority for Viktor Yanukovych is a political and economic monopoly of power."

Olexiy Haran, a political science professor at Kyiv-Mohyla Academy in the Ukrainian capital, says the boycott of the summit in Yalta and the threatened boycott of the Euro 2012 football championship are important symbolically, but that further steps are needed.

"What I believe now is important are targeted sanctions, not against the country, and not even against Yanukovych at this point, but against some people in law enforcement bodies in Ukraine -- at least one or two -- in order to show what would be the result if the present course would continue," Haran said.

Haran says  Yanukovych does not want to be seen in the West as an illegitimate leader and, therefore, what he hears from officials at the NATO summit taking place in Chicago on Sunday and Monday will be "really important."

Speaking to VOA's Ukrainian service after visiting Yulia Tymoshenko in the hospital earlier this week, U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine John Tefft said Washington continues to view her prosecution and the prosecution of other opposition leaders as politically motivated.  He also stressed the importance of conducting free and fair elections for parliament this coming October.  He noted that U.S. President Barack Obama raised these issues with Mr. Yanukovych when they met at a nuclear summit in Seoul earlier this year.   

Meanwhile, Yevgenia Tymoshenko, the jailed former prime minister's daughter, told a U.S. congressional panel in Washington,  the Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe, or U.S. Helsinki Commission, Thursday, via live video link from Kyiv, that she is "very afraid" for her mother’s life in the hospital.  She called on U.S. legislators to "keep the pressure on" Ukraine's government.

You May Like

Changing Under Pressure, IS ‘Potent’ as Ever

US intel officials describe Ramadi's fall as concerning, but say it isn't emblematic of larger effort to degrade IS capabilities More

Nigeria Fuel Shortage Shows Fragility of Africa’s Oil Giant

Although it is the largest oil producer in Africa, country has nearly ran out of fuel it needs to power its generators, cars and airplanes over the past week More

Arrested Football Officials Come Mainly From the Americas

US Justice Department alleges defendants participated in 24-year scheme to enrich themselves through corruption of international soccer More

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.
3D Printer Makes Replica of Iconic Sports Cari
|| 0:00:00
...    
🔇
X
George Putic
May 27, 2015 9:31 PM
Cars with parts made by 3D printers are already on the road, but engineers are still learning about this new technology. While testing the possibility of printing an entire car, researchers at the U.S. Department of Energy recently created an electric-powered replica of an iconic sports roadster. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video 3D Printer Makes Replica of Iconic Sports Car

Cars with parts made by 3D printers are already on the road, but engineers are still learning about this new technology. While testing the possibility of printing an entire car, researchers at the U.S. Department of Energy recently created an electric-powered replica of an iconic sports roadster. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video US Voters Seek Answers From Presidential Candidates on IS Gains

The growth of the Islamic State militant group in Iraq and Syria comes as the 2016 U.S. presidential campaign kicks off in the Midwest state of Iowa.   As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, voters want to know how the candidates would handle recent militant gains in the Middle East.
Video

Video A Small Oasis on Kabul's Outskirts Provides Relief From Security Tensions

When people in Kabul want to get away from the city and relax, many choose Qargha Lake, a small resort on the outskirts of Kabul. Ayesha Tanzeem visited and talked with people about the precious oasis.
Video

Video Film Festival Looks at Indigenous Peoples, Culture Conflict

A recent Los Angeles film festival highlighted the plight of people caught between two cultures. Mike O'Sullivan has more on the the Garifuna International Film Festival, a Los Angeles forum created by a woman from Central America who wants the world to know more about her culture.
Video

Video Kenyans Lament Losing Sons to al-Shabab

There is agony, fear and lost hope in the Kenyan town of Isiolo, a key target of a new al-Shabab recruitment drive. VOA's Mohammed Yusuf visits Isiolo to speak with families and at least one man who says he was a recruiter.
Video

Video Scientists Say Plankton More Important Than Previously Thought

Tiny ocean creatures called plankton are mostly thought of as food for whales and other large marine animals, but a four-year global study discovered, among other things, that plankton are a major source of oxygen on our planet. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video US-led Coalition Gives Some Weapons to Iraqi Troops

In a video released Tuesday from the Iraqi Ministry of Defense, Iraqi forces and U.S.-led coalition troops survey a cache of weapons supplied to help Iraq liberate Mosul from Islamic State group. According to a statement provided with the video, the ministry and the U.S.-led coaltion troops have started ''supplying the 16th army division with medium and light weapons in preparation to liberate Mosul and nearby areas from Da'esh (Arabic acronym for Islamic State group).''
Video

Video Amnesty International: 'Overwhelming Evidence' of War Crimes in Ukraine

Human rights group Amnesty International says there is overwhelming evidence of ongoing war crimes in Ukraine, despite a tentative cease-fire with pro-Russian rebels. Researchers interviewed more than 30 prisoners from both sides of the conflict and all but one said they were tortured. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Washington Parade Honors Those Killed Serving in US Military

Every year, on the last Monday in the month of May, millions of Americans honor the memories of those killed while serving in the armed forces. Memorial Day is a tradition that dates back to the 19th Century. While many people celebrate the federal holiday with a barbecue and a day off from work, for those who’ve served in the military, it’s a special day to remember those who made the ultimate sacrifice. Arash Arabasadi reports for VOA from Washington.
Video

Video Kenya’s Capital Sees Rise in Shisha Parlors

In Kenya, the smoking of shisha, a type of flavored tobacco, is the latest craze. Patrons are flocking to shisha parlors to smoke and socialize. But the practice can be addictive and harmful, though many dabblers may not realize the dangers, according to a new review. Lenny Ruvaga has more on the story for VOA from Nairobi, Kenya.
Video

Video Rolling Thunder Run Reveals Changed Attitudes Towards Vietnam War

For many US war veterans, the Memorial Day holiday is an opportunity to look back at a divisive conflict in the nation’s history and to remember those who did not make it home.
Video

Video Female American Soldiers: Healing Through Filmmaking

According to the United States Defense Department, there are more than 200-thousand women serving in the U.S. Armed Forces.  Like their male counterparts, females have experiences that can be very traumatic.  VOA's Bernard Shusman tells us about a program that is helping some American women in the military heal through filmmaking.

VOA Blogs