Dr Charles Tannock

Member of the European Parliament for London

Current developments in Ukraine

Delivered in Plenary - 12th October 2011

Madam President

The Tymoshenko ruling is a travesty: the charges were politically motivated and the sentence shows that President Yanukovych believes the world will stand idly by while he imprisons his political opponents through the use of selective justice. This cannot be allowed to happen on our doorstep.

I am one of Ukraine’s closest friends and I sincerely want to see the country move closer to the European Union. However, the actions of President Yanukovych are doing a great disservice to his people by jeopardising Ukraine’s deep and comprehensive free trade area and visa liberalisation agreements. Yanukovych foolishly believes that this kind of neo-Soviet behaviour, using Stalin-era legislation, is acceptable in the modern era.

I last saw Yulia Tymoshenko earlier this year and she was very concerned about her future. The world will now be watching to ensure that she is treated humanely and that her right to appeal is honoured by the judicial system, which is clearly not independent in Ukraine.

The EU should continue to engage with Ukraine by telling its Government the truth: that manipulating the judiciary is totally contrary to our values.