EU delays Ukraine talks over Tymoshenko case

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EU delays Ukraine talks over Tymoshenko case

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The EU on Tuesday postponed Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovich’s visit to Brussels as relations soured over the jailing of former prime minister Yulia Tymoshenko.

Talks set for Thursday have now been called off.

Karolina Kottova, a European Commission spokesperson, told reporters in Brussels that the meeting would be held “when the conditions will be more conducive to making progress on bilateral relations between the EU and Ukraine.”

EU officials labelled Tymoshenko’s trial as politically-motivated and warned Kiev it could scupper planned free trade agreements.

Paweł Kowal, an MEP who chairs the European Parliament’s EU-Ukraine Cooperation Committee, said the postponement was the right decision.

“We have to send to Ukrainian opinion a very strong message that the standards of human rights, that the standards of relations between opposition and power is the one and main question of democracy,” Kowal told euronews.

Yanukovich told euronews that Tymoshenko failed to respect the law in signing a gas deal with Russia two years ago, insisting the country’s courts are free from political interference.

Observers say current tensions between Ukraine and the EU could push Kiev to seek deeper ties with Moscow.