Ukraine in bargain with EU over ex-PM

Ukraine in bargain with EU over ex-PM

KIEV / BRUSSELS - Agence France-Presse
Ukraine in bargain with EU over ex-PM

Ukraine’s former PM Yulia Tymoshenko. AFP photo

Ukraine could amend a law to allow hunger striker and former prime minister Yulia Tymoshenko to be treated in another country if Brussels closes outstanding talks on a political and trade deal, the deputy prime minister said yesterday.

Valery Khoroshkovsky told journalists: “if this is the only issue remaining and all other issues we have now left with the EU were already settled... [lawmakers] would be in a position to take a kind of extraordinary decision.” “It’s one of the options.”

EU foreign policy chief

Catherine Ashton urged Ukrainian authorities to allow the EU ambassador to visit Tymoshenko in prison along with independent medical specialists “as a sign of their political will to clarify the situation.” Ashton “is deeply preoccupied by the situation of Yulia Tymoshenko,” the chief EU diplomat’s spokesman said in a statement.

Yanukovych orders probe

Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych said he had ordered a probe into the alleged prison beating of Tymoshenko. “I gave instructions to the prosecutor general to investigate this question and hope that we will get a specific response in the immediate future,” the Ukrainian president said. Tymoshenko has claimed that she has been refusing food since April 20 to protest an alleged attack by guards at a jail. The subject of Tymoshenko has dominated Ukraine’s relations with EU nations since she was convicted last year for agreeing a controversial gas deal with Russia in 2009.