Euro 2012 boycott still in the balance

Published on 9 May 2012 at 11:48


“Poland speaks up for Tymoshenko”, Gazeta Wyborcza headlines as Kiev has postponed a central European regional summit that was to be held on 11-12 May in Yalta. The main factor behind the decision is the growing scandal surrounding the jailing and alleged mistreatment of former Prime Minister and opposition leader, Yulia Tymoshenko. This has caused eight European leaders to refuse to attend the summit and provoked calls in Germany and elsewhere in the EU for the boycott of the Ukrainian matches of next month’s Euro 2012 football championships. However, Tomasz Nałęcz advisor to the Polish president Bronisław Komorowski thinks that boycotting the tournament in Ukraine would be counterproductive –

We shouldn’t boycott [the Euro 2012], but go to Ukraine, bring some pleasure to millions of Ukrainians and simultaneously do something tangible for the release of Yulia Tymoshenko.

Polish president Bronisław Komorowski is going to appeal on May 9 to his Ukrainian counterpart, Viktor Yanukovich, for the law to be changed and Ms Tymoshenko’s sentence repealed. Meanwhile, on May 8 Ms Tymoshenko suspended her hunger strike, which she had started on 20 April, and was taken to a hospital in Kharkiv where she will be treated by a German doctor. The former Ukrainian PM is serving a 7-year prison sentence “for signing an allegedly unfavourable gas trading agreement with Russia in 2009”.

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