24 May, 2013 08:00 ▪
May 23 highlights: European Parliament talks about Ukraine; US and EU Ambassadors visit Yulia Tymoshenko
On May 23, the European Parliament held two-hour hearings on the political situation and implementation of reforms in Ukraine. At the beginning of the hearings, Elmar Brok, German EMP and Chairman of the European Parliament Committee on Foreign Affairs, stated that opposition leaders Arseniy Yatseniuk and Vitaliy Klitschko could not arrive to Strasbourg because of changes in the agenda and Ukraine’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, Leonid Kozhara, would talk about the situation in Ukraine at the next Committee meeting on May 27.
Brok said in his speech that the European Parliament shares the common goal of signing the Association Agreement with Ukraine in November, and has set out clear requirements the Ukrainian government has to meet to have the Association Agreement signed.
We need to have a visible result by October, Brok stated. In his opinion, Ukraine is on the right track – recent release of ex-Interior Minister Yuriy Lutsenko confirms this.
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On Thursday, US and EU Ambassadors visited ex-Premier Yulia Tymoshenko at the hospital in Kharkiv. According to Head of EU Delegation Jan Tombinski, Tymoshenko shared her views and evaluation of Ukraine’s relations with the EU and other partners at the 2.5-hour meeting.
He did not give a clear answer on whether Tymoshenko thinks that the Association Agreement can be signed if the proceedings and criminal cases against her continue, nor did he express the EU’s stance.
Meanwhile, he noted that the EU has three major requirements Ukraine has to meet to sign the Association Agreement: solve the selective justice problem; reform judiciary and election legislation.
US Ambassador John Tefft noted that Tymoshenko feels confident psychologically despite being in physical pain. She was standing at the beginning of the meeting, leaning on her walker, then sat at the table with the ambassadors, he added.
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On May 23, the Verkhovna Rada set up a temporary six-month committee to investigate the beating of journalists during the May 18 rally in Kyiv. Batkivshchyna’s Vitaliy Yarema was elected committee chairman, and Party of Regions’ Andriy Pinchuk is first deputy chairman.
Meanwhile, journalists protested in front of the Cabinet of Ministers against the beating of their colleagues and withdrawal of their accreditation as instructed by Premier Azarov earlier. Mykola Azarov and Interior Minister Vitaliy Zakharchenko met with them. According to the media, Azarov eventually promised to not withdraw accreditation from the journalists for their May 22 protest at the Cabinet meeting.
On May 23, news surfaced that Ukraine is planning to buy 18bn cu m of gas from Gazprom. Dmytro Firtash’s Ostchem will supply 8bn cu m and German gas trader RWE Supply & Trading will supply 1.3bn. Overall, Ukraine is expected to import over 27bn cu m of gas.
On Thursday, Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs recognized the statement of Russian General Counsel Vladimir Andreyev in Crimea “inappropriate”. The Russian party “understands the reaction to some inappropriate wordings used by the Russian representative without paying due attention to the sensitive issue that requires a thoroughly balanced approach in any situation”, the ministry stated.
- EU delays sanctions against Russia until June 30
- Ukraine signs Association Agreement with EU
- Premier Yatseniuk links disruption of gas talks to the signing of the Association Agreement
- Massive arrests of opposition activists start in Belarus
- Yatseniuk: Yanukovych threatens to put opposition leaders in jail
- EurActiv: Ukraine is taking “active steps” to win the sympathy of Germany
- Piotr Kościński: since Tymoshenko`s release is unrealistic EU should put pressure on the Ukrainian authorities to make her imprisonment less difficult
- Alexander Motyl: democratically inclined Ukrainians have no choice but to support the democratic opposition, however “un-best” it is
- Forbes: it seems as if Yanukovych hopes to impress the EU by his success in modernizing legislation
- Hannes Schreiber: Yulia Timoshenko`s case depreciates the reforms introduced to the Ukrainian judicial system so far