Dr Charles Tannock

Member of the European Parliament for London

Ukraine

Delivered in Plenary - 9th June 2011

Mr President

Six years on from the Orange Revolution, Ukrainian politics remain characterised by rivalry and tension. Former Prime Minister Tymoshenko and some members of the former government that she led are now being pursued through the courts for criminal acts allegedly committed whilst in office. These charges to me have a smell of being politically motivated. I fear that President Yanukovych is trying to neutralise the only Ukrainian political figure with enough gravitas, courage and popularity to challenge his authority. We should not forget that the Orange Revolution was a direct response to Yanukovych’s attempt to steal, by fraud, in 2004 the Presidential election. He was never prosecuted for that crime.

Mrs Tymoshenko has substantial popular support in western Ukraine and carries the hopes of millions of her compatriots with her. It is very curious that the latest charges relating to fraud against the medicines budget were not levelled against Zinovii Mytnyk, the Deputy Minister for Heath at the time, who signed off on the deal, because he has now re-emerged, curiously, as the new Health Minister in Yanukovych’s Government.

If Yanukovych wants to reduce Mrs Tymoshenko’s political potency he should seek to do so in an open and democratic battle of ideas, not through the political manipulation of the justice system. And my question to Mr Vigenin, as the Socialist Group has links to Yanukovych’s Party of the Regions, is: do you have confidence in the political impartiality of the General Prosecutor’s Office in Ukraine? Mr Vigenin, could you answer that?