Euro 2012 crisis rises on Tymoshenko case
BRUSSELS - Reuters
Tymoshenko shows bruises on her body to human rights commissioners. AP photo
European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso will not visit Ukraine because of the treatment of imprisoned former prime ministers Yulia Tymoshenko, adding to the number of European leaders boycotting the country, his spokeswoman said yesterday.
Ukraine is hosting a summit of central European presidents in the Black Sea resort of Yalta on May 11-12, and the Euro 2012 soccer tournament, which it is co-hosting with Poland, in June. “As far as the president is concerned, it is clear that as things stand now, the president has no intention of going to Ukraine or indeed participating in events in Ukraine at this point in time,” spokeswoman Pia Ahrenkilde Hansen told a briefing.
‘Cold war tactics’
Over the past week, both German President Joachim Gauck and Czech President Vaclav Klaus have cancelled plans to visit the Yalta summit over the case which has strained relations between the EU and the ex-Soviet nation. Tymoshenko, 51, was jailed last October for seven years for abusing her power as prime minister and she has been on hunger strike after saying she had been beaten by prison guards, an accusation jail authorities deny.
Ukraine said presidents of Austria, the Czech Republic, Germany, Italy and Slovenia would not be able to attend Yalta summit amid growing concern over health of Tymoshenko. Ukrainian Foreign Ministry spokesman Oleg Voloshin tried to downplay the announcements.
“I hope that German statesmen won’t reactivate the methods of the Cold War and try to make sports a hostage to politics,” he said.