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05.03.2013

Ukraine’s ambassador to Germany summoned over concerns

   

The German Foreign Ministry is disturbed by the situation with Yulia Tymoshenko’s defence counsel, Serhiy Vlasenko and on Monday, 4 March, summoned Ukraine’s Ambassador Pavlo Klimkin.  Berlin’s tone was unprecedentedly strong, the German Press Agency reports, though there was no official commentary for the press.

According to Frankfurter Allgemeine’s sources, the Ministry was concerned about the situation with imprisoned former Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko and pressure on her defender, Batkivshchyna MP Serhiy Vlasenko. 

They note that Vlasenko was not allowed to travel abroad to take part in the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe session at the end of January (after criminal cases were initiated against him – translator), and there are presently attempts to strip him of his parliamentary mandate.

The newspaper reports that Berlin has taken an unprecedentedly hard line.  It has made it clear to Kyiv that Ukraine can forget about the EU-Ukraine Association Agreement and free trade if there is no resolution with the Tymoshenko case. The position of the Foreign Ministry is shared by the Office of the Federal Chancellor.

On 1 March, during his first press conference in 15 months, Yanukovych called on Yulia Tymoshenko to think about returning damages to the state.

“The new Criminal Procedure Code makes it possible to humanize economic issues. However on one condition – that the damages caused the state are compensated. This is what she needs to think about”.

He also asserted that the question of her release did not depend on him.

As reported already, the situation with Serhiy Vlasenko is highly worrying and may develop on Tuesday with the High Administrative Court due to consider an application to strip him of his parliamentary mandate. The claim is that this was decided by the parliamentary regulations committee.  This is denied by the opposition who say that there was no meeting of this committee in February.

The pretext that Vlasenko had not annulled his defence lawyer status is extremely weak, but presumably the calculation is that most people will believe that Vlasenko was acting as Tymoshenko’s defence lawyer, while also earning a salary etc as an MP.  In fact, Vlasenko is Tymoshenko’s defender, a status which is not dependent on defence lawyer status. 

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