EU officials close to securing deal to free Ukrainian opposition politician Yulia Tymoshenko

Ms Tymoshenko, who won widespread support for her role in her country's 'Orange Revolution', is serving a seven-year sentence for abusing her power in a gas deal with Russia

Kiev

Germany has sent a strong signal that European officials are close to securing a deal with Ukraine to free opposition politician and cause celebre Yulia Tymoshenko.

Ms Tymoshenko, who won widespread support for her role in Ukraine's 'Orange Revolution' against a corrupt election in 2004, is serving a seven-year sentence for abusing her power in a gas deal with Russia - charges her supporters say are politically motivated.

“We have been speaking about the necessity of progress in the case of Yulia Tymoshenko and I believe that we will witness actions that will satisfy us,” German President Joachim Gauck told reporters after meeting Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovich at a conference in Poland.

EU envoys have formally asked Mr Yanukovich to pardon Ms Tymoshenko ahead of a summit in Vilnius at the end of November, where Ukraine is expected to take a historic step towards the West by signing an Association Agreement with the EU.

The agreement promises freer trade between the EU and Ukraine, but comes with many conditions for Kiev, including significant reforms on democracy, human rights, the rule of law and tackling corruption.

Ms Tymoshenko is seen as a symbol of the “selective justice” in Ukraine, and a lack of movement on her case could jeopardise the signing of the agreement at the summit, which is regarded by many as a make-or-break opportunity for Ukraine to move towards the EU and away from the orbit of Russia, its former ruler, which still retains substantial influence. The deal is seen as a first step on the road to possible EU membership.

A German Foreign Ministry spokesman told Reuters that Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle would discuss her case during a visit to Ukraine on Thursday and Friday. It has been suggested that Ms Tymoshenko, who is currently receiving treatment for back trouble in a prison hospital in the eastern Ukrainian city of Kharkiv, could travel to Germany for medical attention if she is released.

In order for the deal to pass, there are concerns that the EU may water down its demands for Mr Yanukovich to pardon Ms Tymoshenko.

“She [Ms Tymoshenko] has to be released and Europe must stay firm on this,” said opposition MP Volodymyr Polochaninov.

When asked about the possibility of Ms Tymoshenko's release, Ukraine's Vice Prime Minister Vilkul Olexandr told The Independent he was “confident some resolution will be found”.

Suggested Topics
Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: In House Counsel - Contracts

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: This leading supplier of compliance software a...

Recruitment Genius: Associate System Engineer

£24000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: The Associate System Engineer r...

Recruitment Genius: Executive Assistant

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: An Executive Assistant is required to join a l...

Ashdown Group: Marketing Manager - B2B, Corporate - City, London

£45000 - £50000 per annum + benefits : Ashdown Group: A highly successful, glo...

Day In a Page

General Election 2015: The masterminds behind the scenes

The masterminds behind the election

How do you get your party leader to embrace a message and then stick to it? By employing these people
Machine Gun America: The amusement park where teenagers go to shoot a huge range of automatic weapons

Machine Gun America

The amusement park where teenagers go to shoot a huge range of automatic weapons
The ethics of pet food: Why are we are so selective in how we show animals our love?

The ethics of pet food

Why are we are so selective in how we show animals our love?
How Tansy Davies turned 9/11 into her opera 'Between Worlds'

How a composer turned 9/11 into her opera 'Between Worlds'

Tansy Davies makes her operatic debut with a work about the attack on the Twin Towers. Despite the topic, she says it is a life-affirming piece
11 best bedside tables

11 best bedside tables

It could be the first thing you see in the morning, so make it work for you. We find night stands, tables and cabinets to wake up to
Italy vs England player ratings: Did Andros Townsend's goal see him beat Harry Kane and Wayne Rooney to top marks?

Italy vs England player ratings

Did Townsend's goal see him beat Kane and Rooney to top marks?
Danny Higginbotham: An underdog's tale of making the most of it

An underdog's tale of making the most of it

Danny Higginbotham on being let go by Manchester United, annoying Gordon Strachan, utilising his talents to the full at Stoke and plunging into the world of analysis
Audley Harrison's abusers forget the debt he's due, but Errol Christie will always remember what he owes the police

Steve Bunce: Inside Boxing

Audley Harrison's abusers forget the debt he's due, but Errol Christie will always remember what he owes the police
No postcode? No vote

Floating voters

How living on a houseboat meant I didn't officially 'exist'
Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin

By Reason of Insanity

Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin
Power dressing is back – but no shoulderpads!

Power dressing is back

But banish all thoughts of Eighties shoulderpads
Spanish stone-age cave paintings 'under threat' after being re-opened to the public

Spanish stone-age cave paintings in Altamira 'under threat'

Caves were re-opened to the public
'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'

Vince Cable interview

'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'
Election 2015: How many of the Government's coalition agreement promises have been kept?

Promises, promises

But how many coalition agreement pledges have been kept?
The Gaza fisherman who built his own reef - and was shot dead there by an Israeli gunboat

The death of a Gaza fisherman

He built his own reef, and was fatally shot there by an Israeli gunboat