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20.11.2013 | Julian Pecquet

US Senate urges Ukraine to release former PM

   

The Senate on Monday unanimously urged Ukraine to release former Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko, further complicating the Russian neighbor’s efforts to build closer ties with the European Union.

The non-binding resolution says Ukraine should release Tymoshenko “from imprisonment based on politicized and selective charges.” It also calls on the European Union to make her release a condition for signing an association agreement – a possible first step toward membership – during a summit with former Soviet block countries in Lithuania at the end of the month.

Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), the Senate’s Number 2 Democrat, introduced the resolution in May after the European Court of Human Rights ruled her imprisonment “arbitrary and unlawful.” Tymoshenko served as prime minister in 2005 and again from 2007 to 2010; after losing a presidential election to Viktor Yanukovich, she was sentenced to seven years in prison in 2011 on charges of abuse of power in connection with a Russian natural gas contract.

The resolution: 

(1) calls on the Government of Ukraine to release former Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko from imprisonment based on politicized and selective charges and in light of the April 2013 European Court of Human Rights verdict;

(2) calls on the European Union members to include the release of Ms. Tymoshenko from imprisonment based on politicized and selective charges as a criterion for signing an association agreement with Ukraine at the upcoming Eastern Partnership Summit in Lithuania;

(3) expresses its belief and hope that Ukraine’s future rests with stronger ties to Europe, the United States, and others in the community of democracies; and

(4) expresses its concern and disappointment that the continued selective and politically motivated imprisonment of former Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko unnecessarily detracts from Ukraine’s otherwise strong relationship with Europe, the United States, and the community of democracies.

 

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