On Thursday, international pressure mounted on the Ukraine over its treatment of jailed opposition leader Yuliya Timoshenko, but Kiev warned that any boycott of the European football championship next month would only hurt the interests of football fans. Nine European leaders plan to shun a Central European summit hosted by the former Soviet republic this month in a show of displeasure at Timoshenko’s plight, which the West says highlights a decline in democratic values in the country. The move appeared to foreshadow similar action by European politicians at the Euro-2012 football championship, which Ukraine is co-hosting with Poland in June and July, and which it hopes will be a showcase for the country as a modern European nation.
The Presidents of Germany, Austria, Italy, Croatia, Estonia, Slovenia, Bulgaria, and Czechia all said that they wouldn’t attend the 11-12 May gathering in the Black Sea resort of Yalta hosted by Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovich. European Commission President José Manuel Durão Barroso said that he had no plans to visit the Ukraine because of Timoshenko’s imprisonment, as she said that Yanukovich ordered her imprisonment, and that she fears for her life. On Thursday, the delegation of the EU to the Ukraine said the other 26 commissioners would follow a similar line. The boycott of the informal summit, held in Poland last year, which attracted 20 heads of states then, risks embarrassing Kiev, which says it wants to join the EU eventually. The snubbing of the summit could be a precursor to an even more painful boycott of the Euro tournament, which the Ukraine hoped would cement its position in the European mainstream.
On Thursday, the Ukrainian Foreign Ministry said that attempts to politicise the Euro tournament were destructive, saying, “A successful championship would be a victory not for politicians, parties, or ideologies, but for all Ukrainians and Poles. Its failure would be a loss for millions”. Last October, Timoshenko, a former prime minister and Yanukovich’s main political rival, received a seven-year prison sentence for abuse of office after a trial that the West called politically-motivated. Last week, Western politicians reacted with horror after she alleged that guards beat her in prison. Timoshenko’s prison is near Kharkov, one of the Euro-2012 venues, and she’s been on a hunger strike since 20 April in protest at what she said was an assault by prison guards, an allegation denied by the prison administration.
Issue Divides Poles
On Thursday, the issue prompted a domestic political dispute in Poland, as the main opposition party urged a boycott of matches held in the Ukraine, whilst Polish President Bronisław Maria Komorowski and Prime Minister Donald Tusk spoke against such a step. Yet, Tusk warned the Ukraine that its reputation would “suffer dramatically” if no humanitarian solution were found, saying, “I’ve left the Ukrainian Prime Minister and President in no doubt that the (Timoshenko) case is a test of credibility for the present Ukrainian authorities, and that the reputation of the Ukraine would suffer dramatically if it doesn’t find a civilised solution before the European championship”. The ITAR-TASS news agency reported that Prime Minister and President-elect Vladimir Putin also spoke out against a boycott, saying, “I think that under no circumstances should one mix politics, business and other issues with sports. One should leave sports alone”. In June, 16 European teams will hold matches at Ukrainian and Polish venues, leading up to the final in Kiev on 1 July.
Timoshenko, 51, was one of the leaders of the 2004 Orange Revolution that derailed Yanukovich’s first bid for presidency. Her family says that she’s in poor health due to the hunger strike and chronic back pain, but Timoshenko refuses treatment, saying she that doesn’t trust state-appointed doctors. A Ukrainian Foreign Ministry spokesman reacted angrily to news that German Bundeskanzlerin Angela Merkel wouldn’t attend the Euro championship, calling the move a return to Cold War tactics. The Ukrainian government and businessmen invested billions of dollars in preparations for the Euro-2012, as it would be the biggest sports event during Yanukovich’s current term in office.
However, the government’s shown no signs of heeding Brussels’ calls to free Timoshenko. Instead, the Prokuratura brought to court fresh tax evasion charges against her, which carry a sentence of up to 12 years. The EU warned the Ukraine that its members wouldn’t ratify milestone bilateral agreements on political association and free trade as long as Timoshenko remains in prison. Kiev-based political analyst Igor Zhdanov said, “These (boycott moves) are the first steps towards international isolation, not for the Ukraine, but for Yanukovich personally. This will go on for as long as Timoshenko remains in prison. However, one must understand that Timoshenko simply exemplifies all the problems with democracy in the Ukraine”.
3 May 2012
As quoted in Yahoo News
The EU move’s as dumb as dirt. Right now, VVP’s manoeuvring the Ukraine into agreeing to become part of the future Eurasian Union. Ukrainians want no repeat of the Western-financed and sponsored “Orange Revolution”… that led to Western corporate landsharks, diaspora Galician Uniates, and anti-patriotic pro-Western forces taking power and raping the Ukraine for four years. The glorification of the criminal terrorist Stepan Bandera by Yushchenko was the last straw, I think. No patriotically-minded Ukrainian wishes a return to that, only “nationalist” Galician Uniates and pro-American lickspittles (combined, less than 10 percent of the population) desire such a return. In short, I say, let the EU pull this juvenile shit. Let them intensify it, I say… and they shall, for the Ukraine’s rejection of the nostrums of the American Neocon Republicans and Interventionist Democrats enraged “both sides of the aisle” in the USA (which led to a loud campaign of vilification in the Western media). Not only that, the EU’s pissed off that the Ukraine insists that its internal affairs are its internal affairs, and they’re none of Brussels’ business. It’s all to the good… it’ll push the Ukraine into the Eurasian Union, and Ukrainians will have such a bellyful of Western arrogance, condescension, and hubris, it’ll put them off Western influence for centuries.
In other words, let the Westerners act out their infantile peevishness. It will only hasten the reunion of Historic Holy Rus… and that’s a very GOOD thing.