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

    Video Rubio Looks to Surge in New Hampshire

    Republican presidential candidate has moved into second place in several recent surveys and appears to be gaining ground on longtime frontrunner Donald Trump

    UN Calls for Global Ban on Female Genital Mutilation

    Recent UNICEF report finds at least 200 million girls and women alive today have undergone female genital mutilation in 30 countries

    UN Pilots New Peace Approach in CAR

    Approach launched in northern town of Kaga Bandoro, where former combatants of mainly Muslim Seleka armed group and Christian and animist anti-Balaka movement are being paid to do community work

    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.
    German Artists to Memorialize Refugees With Life Jacket Exhibiti
    X
    Hamada Elsaram
    February 05, 2016 4:30 PM
    Sold in every kind of shop in some Turkish port towns, life jackets have become a symbol of the refugee crisis that brought a million people to Europe in 2015.  On the shores of Lesbos, Greece, German artists collect discarded life jackets as they prepare an art installation they plan to display in Germany.  For VOA, Hamada Elrasam has this report from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video German Artists to Memorialize Refugees With Life Jacket Exhibit

    Sold in every kind of shop in some Turkish port towns, life jackets have become a symbol of the refugee crisis that brought a million people to Europe in 2015.  On the shores of Lesbos, Greece, German artists collect discarded life jackets as they prepare an art installation they plan to display in Germany.  For VOA, Hamada Elrasam has this report from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video E-readers Help Ease Africa's Book Shortage

    Millions of people in Africa can't read, and there's a chronic shortage of books. A non-profit organization called Worldreader is trying to help change all that one e-reader at a time. VOA’s Deborah Block tells us about a girls' school in Nairobi, Kenya where Worldreader is making a difference.
    Video

    Video Genius Lets World Share Its Knowledge

    Inspired by crowdsourcing companies like Wikipedia, Genius allows anyone to edit anything on the web, using its web annotation tool
    Video

    Video Former Drug CEO Martin Shkreli Angers US Lawmakers

    A former U.S. pharmaceutical business executive has angered lawmakers by refusing to explain why he raised the price of a life-saving pill by 5,000 percent. Martin Shkreli was removed from a congressional hearing on Thursday after citing his Fifth Amendment right to stay silent. Zlatica Hoke has more.
    Video

    Video Super Bowl TV Commercials are Super Business for Advertisers

    The Super Bowl, the championship clash between the two top teams in American Football, is the most-watched sporting event of the year, and advertisers are lining up and paying big bucks to get their commercials on the air. In fact, the TV commercials during the Super Bowl have become one of the most anticipated and popular features of the event. VOA's Brian Allen has a sneak peek of what you can expect to see when the big game goes to commercial break, and the real entertainment begins.
    Video

    Video In Philippines, Mixed Feelings About Greater US Military Presence

    In the Philippines, some who will be directly affected by a recent Supreme Court decision clearing the way for more United States troop visits are having mixed reactions.  The increased rotations come at a time when the Philippines is trying to build up its military in the face of growing maritime assertiveness from China.  From Bahile, Palawan on the coast of the South China Sea, Simone Orendain has this story.
    Video

    Video Microcephaly's Connection to Zika: Guilty Until Proven Innocent

    The Zika virus rarely causes problems for the people who get it, but it seems to be having a devastating impact on babies whose mothers are infected with Zika. VOA's Carol Pearson has more.
    Video

    Video Solar Innovation Provides Cheap, Clean Energy to Kenya Residents

    In Kenya, a company called M-Kopa Solar is providing clean energy to more than 300,000 homes across East Africa by allowing customers to "pay-as-you-go" via their cell phones. As Lenny Ruvaga reports from Kangemi, customers pay a small deposit for a solar unit and then pay less than a dollar a day to get clean energy to light up their homes or businesses.
    Video

    Video Stunning Artworks Attract Record Crowds, Thanks to Social Media

    A new exhibit at the oldest art museum in America is shattering attendance records. Thousands of visitors are lining up to see nine giant works of art that have gotten a much-deserved shot of viral marketing. The 150-year-old Smithsonian American Art Museum has never had a response quite like this. VOA's Julie Taboh reports.
    Video

    Video Apprenticeships Put Americans on Path Back to Work

    Trying to get more people into the U.S. workforce, the Obama administration last year announced $175 million in grants towards apprenticeship programs. VOA White House correspondent Aru Pande went inside one training center outside of Washington that has gained national recognition for helping put people on the path to employment.
    Video

    Video New Material May Reduce Concussion Effects

    As the 2016 National Football League season reaches its summit at the Super Bowl this coming Sunday (2/7), scientists are trying to learn how to more effectively protect football players from dangerous and damaging concussions. Researchers at Cardiff and Cambridge Universities say their origami-based material may solve the problem. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Saudi Arabian Women's Sports Chip Away at Stereotypes

    Saudi Arabian female athletes say that sports are on the front line of busting traditions that quash women’s voices, both locally and internationally. In their hometown of Jeddah, a group of basketball players say that by connecting sports to health issues, they are encouraging women and girls to get out of their homes and participate in public life. VOA’s Heather Murdock reports.
    Video

    Video A Year Later, Fortunes Mixed for Syrians Forging New Lives in Berlin

    In April of last year, VOA followed the progress of six young Syrian refugees -- four brothers and their two friends -- as they made their way from Libya to Italy by boat, and eventually to Germany. Reporter Henry Ridgwell caught up with the refugees again in Berlin, as they struggle to forge new lives amid the turmoil of Europe's refugee crisis.
    Video

    Video Zika Virus May be Hard to Stop

    With the Zika virus spreading rapidly, the World Health Organization Monday declared Zika a global health emergency. As Alberto Pimienta reports, for many governments and experts, the worst is yet to come.