- House and Senate negotiators reach two-year budget deal
- Congress seeks ban on in-flight calls
- Michelle Malkin’s Twitchy site sold to owners of Townhall, HotAir: report
- GM’s Barra to be first woman to run top American carmaker
- China: Poisonous smog is a military asset, if you think about it
- Texas woman admits to sending ricin to Obama
- Ron Paul on son Rand: ‘I think he probably will’ run for president
- Cold War heats up again in the Arctic: Russian airfield reactivated after 20 years
- 6-year-old boy suspended for sexual harassment over kiss
- Voters deciding Mass. congressional contest
Activist presses Ukraine for release of Tymoshenko
Ex-lawmaker cites reforms nation should adopt
A Ukrainian civic activist says Ukraine’s president must release a jailed former prime minister and adopt judicial and electoral reforms to meet benchmarks for closer relations with the European Union.
Sergii Bondarchuk, a former member of Ukraine's parliament, told editors and reporters at The Washington Times this week that his working group of the National Roundtable Agreement for the European Future wants to help President Viktor Yanukovych to be in a position to sign an association agreement and free-trade pact with the EU in the Lithuanian capital, Vilnius, in November.
The government of Ukraine is eager to sign these agreements.
While most European governments believe Ukraine has not done enough to meet EU benchmarks, some are reluctant to block the agreements out of concern that could push Ukraine into closer ties with Russia.
The National Roundtable, a civic society group, has drawn up a list of 11 issues that it says must be resolved by the Ukrainian government to enable integration with the EU. Prominent among these is the release of former Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko and an end to the practice of “selective justice” that targets Mr. Yanukovych’s political rivals.
Mrs. Tymoshenko is serving a seven-year prison term for abusing her powers as prime minister in striking energy import deals that prosecutors said favored Russia and left Ukraine with crippling bills.
“From one side, the words of brotherhood from Russia’s side are spoken constantly; from another side, the price of gas in our territory is among the highest in Europe,” he said. “During the last three years, the extra charge for Russian gas for Ukraine was $17 billion.”
Western governments and human rights groups have described the charges against Mrs. Tymoshenko as politically motivated.
“Pretty much everybody who followed the trial in December of 2011, at least everybody in the West, regards it as a judicial farce,” said Steven Pifer, a former U.S. ambassador to Ukraine and now with the Brookings Institution.
In April, the European Court of Human Rights ruled that Mrs. Tymoshenko’s pretrial detention was unlawful.
Human Rights Watch says Ukraine has a mixed human rights record.
“The case against [Mrs. Tymoshenko] and other highly politicized cases give grounds for concern that the government uses politically motivated charges to deal with its political rivals,” said Rachel Denber of Human Rights Watch.
During the Orange Revolution, Ukrainian opposition leaders were “solid people,” but now, “opposition politicians are new computers, but old software,” he said.
He accused Mr. Yanukovych of heading a “super presidential republic” in which the president is “the only real decision maker.”
Tatiana Shalkivska, a spokesman for the Ukraine Embassy in Washington, declined to comment on Mr. Bondarchuk’s accusations, but some analysts have also noticed a drift toward authoritarianism in Ukraine.
© Copyright 2013 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.
About the Author
Ashish Kumar Sen is a reporter covering foreign policy and international developments for The Washington Times.
Prior to joining The Times, Mr. Sen worked for publications in Asia and the Middle East. His work has appeared in a number of publications and online news sites including the British Broadcasting Corp., Asia Times Online and Outlook magazine.
- U.S. teacher shot dead in Benghazi after al Qaeda call for violence
- Syria nightmare: Fresh fears about al Qaeda fighters there returning home as sleeper terrorists
- Iran official: Sanctions 'utterly failed' to stop nuclear program
- China accuses Japan of raising tensions over new air defense zone
- Joe Biden meets Xi Jinping in China to try to defuse tensions on air defense zone
By Donald Lambro
Growth spikes are little more than trend-free anomalies
- Obama takes 'selfie' at Mandela's funeral service
- Harry Reid's visa pressure cooker
- Somber duty: U.S. presidents in hot demand at Mandela's memorial
- American bourbon now better than Scottish whiskey: U.K.-born expert
- Chinese man fed up with his girlfriend's shopping jumps to his death
- CARSON: Why did the founders give us the Second Amendment?
- Israeli P.M. Benjamin Netanyahu backs out of Nelson Mandela funeral
- Galaxy S4 owner claims Samsung tried to silence him after phone caught fire
- FITTON: A closer look at the Benghazi lie
- Obama lied about Syrian chemical attack, 'cherry-picked' intelligence: report
Independent voices from the The Washington Times Communities
A column dedicated to discussing politics, national security, civil liberties, and education.
Criticism may not be agreeable, but it is necessary. It fulfills the same function as pain in the human body. It calls attention to an unhealthy state of things.
The “Silver Tsunami” created by aging Baby Boomers is hitting America. Let’s explore how we adjust to it, enjoy it and defy negative expectations about age.
Find the latest news and happening that effect those in the Washington D.C., Northern Virginia and Maryland Metro region.
White House pets gone wild!
Let it snow