KYIV POST: European Union diplomats warned Ukraine’s leadership this weekend that integration with the 27-nation bloc could be jeopardized by a “show trial” against opposition leader Yulia Tymoshenko that is expected to wrap up this month, the Financial Times reported on Sept. 4. 

Meeting in Poland, EU foreign ministers said that Brussels would continue formal negotiations with Kyiv on free trade and association agreements. But, according to the Financial Times report, they cautioned that the agreements may not be ratified by EU member nations amid growing concern the charges and investigations against Tymoshenko are a politically motivated attempt to sideline Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych's main political rival.

“If they continue with show trials of that sort, and it’s not only Yulia Tymoshenko’s case, I think the chances for an agreement being ratified are fairly slim,” Carl Bildt, Sweden’s foreign minister, said, according to Reuters.

“The majority view [in the EU] is that the agreement can be finalized only if the Tymoshenko case is solved,” Reuters quoted Alain Juppé, French foreign minister, as saying. “It means having a free and fair trial and abandoning the unjustified charges against her.”

Yanukovych’s administration appeared unfazed by the warnings, according to the Financial Times report.

“We welcome the willingness of our European partners to finalize negotiations by the end of the year. Ratification is a longstanding process. It would be too early to comment on it now,” the report quoted Oleg Voloshyn, spokesperson for Ukraine’s foreign ministry, as saying.

Roman Olearchyk

Ukrayinska Dumka


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