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May 9, 2012

Former Ukraine PM Yulia Tymoshenko to end hunger strike, daughter announces

Former Ukraine PM Yulia Tymoshenko to end hunger strike, daughter announces

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Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Ukraine
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Yevgenia Tymoshenko has announced her mother, former Ukrainian Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko, is to end her hunger strike after nineteen days. Yulia’s lawyer, Serhiy Vlasenko, cited “what is happening in the country and what is happening to her in prison” as reasons for her commencing her fast.

Cquote1.svg Ukraine may simply never have fair elections again Cquote2.svg

Yulia Tymoshenko, former Prime Minister of Ukraine

The politician is serving a seven-year sentence for abuse of office arising from a gas deal with Russia while she was Prime Minister. She has accused jail guards of assaulting her while transporting her to a hospital against her will to get treatment for back pain which she has reportedly been experiencing for months. In the incident, Vlasenko said Tymoshenko “naturally got scared, began resisting, after which she received a punch in the stomach and passed out”, referring to a bruise which remains present on her body.

Adherents of Tymoshenko have publicised pictures showing bruising on the politician’s body. Corrections officers have refuted claims of their responsibility. Kharkiv regional prosecutor, Henadiy Tyurin, confirmed “she was picked up, carried to the car and taken to the hospital” but insisted: “According to the law … the prison service has the right to use physical measures”.

Tymoshenko was scheduled to appear in a fresh trial for a tax evasion charge the day before she was taken to hospital. In theory, the hearing could have her imprisonment extended to the year 2023. The trial has been postponed to May 21. She does not accept she broke the law as the boss of a Ukrainian gas company in the 1990s.

Tymoshenko has refused to accept medical treatment from Ukrainian doctors for her back problems, but has been given permission to travel from her current prison in Kharkiv to a hospital in the same city yesterday. There she is to be assisted by German doctor Lutz Harms, who is to “begin bringing [her] out of her hunger strike”, Yevgenia explained. At the time of her going on hunger strike, Vlasenko spoke of Tymoshenko not having the ability to leave her own bed.

Yevgenia described how her mother “appears to have lost 10kg [22 lbs, her temperature has dropped significantly and she may pass out any minute now”. Due to the hunger strike, it was considered “impossible to start treatment immediately”, she said.

In the hours prior to this announcement, the Ukrainian government postponed a European summit scheduled for May 11–12 in the city of Yalta due to what the country’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs described as a “connection with the fact that a number of European leaders [being] unable to take part in the Yalta summit for different reasons”. At least ten leaders, including the presidents of the Czech Republic, Romania, Austria and Germany, reportedly reversed their decisions to appear at the summit in relation to the treatment of Tymoshenko.

Ukrainian UEFA Euro 2012 matches scheduled for June may also be boycotted by leaders, according to BBC News Online. The European Commission has stated its commissioners will refuse to attend Ukraine-hosted Euro 2012 matches. The German government has clarified that what happens to Tymoshenko will influence whether or not its representatives will appear at the matches.

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Tymoshenko denies abuse of office charges, believing them to be part of a campaign by President Viktor Yanukovych to prohibit her from politics. The European Union and the United States strongly criticised the conviction as they believed it is politically influenced.

In the 2010 presidential elections, she was narrowly beaten by Yanukovych. Tymoshenko was also the leader of the Orange Revolution, which removed power from Yanukovych after he won the 2004 Ukrainian presidential election amid electoral fraud.

In a letter, Tymoshenko appealed to Europe to persist in pressuring Yanukovych because Ukrainian citizens “cannot fight [Yanukovych’s government] on their own” and “Ukraine may simply never have fair elections again”, she claimed. She had earlier spoke of her belief that Yanukovych was vengeful.

File photo of Yulia Tymoshenko, taken on February 7, 2009. Image: Munich Conference on Security Policy.

File photo of Yulia Tymoshenko, taken on February 7, 2009.
Image: Munich Conference on Security Policy.

File photo of Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych, taken on June 17, 2011. Image: Pavol Frešo.

File photo of Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych, taken on June 17, 2011.
Image: Pavol Frešo.

Map of Ukraine highlighting Kharkiv. Image: Skluesener.

Map of Ukraine highlighting Kharkiv.
Image: Skluesener.

Tymoshenko, Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin and Russian President Dmitry Medvedev meeting on January 17, 2009 during the 2009 Russia–Ukraine gas dispute. Image: Presidential Administration of Russia.

Tymoshenko, Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin and Russian President Dmitry Medvedev meeting on January 17, 2009 during the 2009 Russia–Ukraine gas dispute.
Image: Presidential Administration of Russia.

Image of Orange Revolution, headed by Tymoshenko, taken on November 22, 2004. Image: Serhiy.

Image of Orange Revolution, headed by Tymoshenko, taken on November 22, 2004.
Image: Serhiy.

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April 25, 2012

Former Ukranian PM Yulia Tymoshenko goes on hunger strike

Former Ukranian PM Yulia Tymoshenko goes on hunger strike

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Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Yulia Tymoshenko at a 2007 summit.

Reports are emerging that Yulia Tymoshenko, the Ex-Prime Minister of Ukraine who in currently in prison at Kharkiv, has been on hunger strike since Friday. According to her lawyer, she is protesting against “what is happening in the country and what is happening to her in prison.”

It was further reported that she has been punched in the stomach by prison guards, and has received bruises on her arms and stomach from being manhandled several times between prison and hospital. The Kharkiv regional prosecutor, Henadiy Tyurin, confirmed that “According to the law… the prison service has the right to use physical measures: she was picked up, carried to the car and taken to the hospital.”

Tymoshenko has been sentenced to seven years and has been imprisoned since last October on charges of abuse of office relating to her time as Prime Minister. Other charges of embezzlement and tax evasion are pending which could push the sentence to a further twelve years.

US President Bush with PM Tymoshenko in 2008

Tymoshenko denies the charges and believes they are are part of a campaign by President Viktor Yanukovych to bar her from politics. She was narrowly defeated by Yanukovych in the 2010 presidential elections.

Officials from the United States and European Union have described the prosecution of Tymoshenko as selective and politically motivated. A statement from the White House urged Ukraine to release Tymoshenko and other Ukrainian politicians. Ukraine has been informed by the European Union that pending bilateral agreements will not be ratified while Tymoshenko remains in prison.



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January 18, 2010

Ukraine presidential election headed for runoff

Ukraine presidential election headed for runoff

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Monday, January 18, 2010

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File:Вибори 2010 Україна. Явка на 11-ту.PNG

A map of turnout in the general election
Image: Vasyl` Babych.
(Image missing from commons: image; log)

The 2010 Ukrainian presidential election will go into a runoff vote as no candidate has 50% of the popular vote. The top two candidates are Viktor Yanukovych and Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko. The runoff will be held February 7.

According to exit polls, Viktor Yanukovich is currently leading with 31-36% of the vote, with Yulia Tymoshenko in second with 25-27%. Eighteen other candidates, including incumbent president Viktor Yushchenko, have been eliminated from the election.

This election is expected to be scrutinized by third party auditors, as opposing candidates have accused each other of attempting to rig the election. President Yushchenko said that “Ukraine once again will demonstrate that it is a European democratic country, that it is a free nation, free people and free election.”



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October 31, 2009

Ukraine closes schools after reports of swine flu deaths

Ukraine closes schools after reports of swine flu deaths

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Saturday, October 31, 2009

Ukraine reported its first deaths from the H1N1 swine flu virus on Friday, prompting the government to close schools, ban public gatherings throughout the country, and take other actions in an effort to curb the spread of the disease.

Four people were confirmed dead from the disease as of Friday, and another seven people have been confirmed as infected with it, the ProUA news agency quoted National Security and Defense Council Secretary Raisa Bohatyryova as saying. This contradicts other reports, which said only one person died.

30 more people in the western part of the country have died from an outbreak of pneumonia and flu since the middle of this month, but it has not been confirmed to be the swine flu.

Ukrainian prime minister Yulia Tymoshenko ordered the closure of schools and cinemas for three weeks. A ban on public gatherings was implemented as well, in some of the toughest measures taken in Europe to stop the virus’ spread. “Special regimes” will also be introduced, to limit residents from moving from one part of the country to the other for non-urgent purposes.

“All educational institutions without exception […] will be put on a three-week holiday period,” Tymoshenko said. “Apart from this, we will cancel all mass meetings […] for three weeks. We will introduce a special system to stop unnecessary travel from one region to another.”

“We can say today that Ukraine has entered into the zone of the swine flu epidemic,” said Ukrainian Health Minister Vassyl Kniazevich.



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October 17, 2008

IMF prepares to help Hungary and Ukraine

IMF prepares to help Hungary and Ukraine

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Friday, October 17, 2008

Economy and business
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The International Monetary Fund (IMF) is preparing a series of loans to both Hungary and Ukraine as financial problems are hitting the two countries. Hungary has already received a 5 billion credit line from the European Central Bank (ECB). Ukraine is seeking a loan of up to US$14 billion.

Dominique Strauss-Kahn says the IMF is prepared to give loans to Hungary and Ukraine if needed.

The credit line to Hungary will be used to cover banks’ shortage of euros. Hungary has a severe debt problem with them posting an account deficit of €5.3 billion or 4.9% of GDP this year. As a result of this, Hungary is unable to find suitable credit to store up its supply of euros.

“We are in close dialogue with the Hungarian authorities and the EU to discuss further responses to the current challenges, including possible technical and financial support by the IMF”, said Dominique Strauss-Kahn, Managing Director of the IMF. “I have informed the authorities that the IMF stands ready to assist their efforts. We will provide technical assistance as needed and, in the context of a supportive policy setting, are ready to undertake [decisions] on possible financial assistance, responding rapidly.”

Ukraine’s Finance Minister Viktor Pynzenyk met with an IMF team on Thursday. In a statement, Pynzenyk said “the parties discussed a situation of influence the world financial crisis had on the economy of Ukraine.” It is not yet known how much the IMF is expected to lend to Ukraine but it is expected to be between $3 billion to $14 billion. It is also not known what type of conditions might be placed on the loan.

In addition to financial uncertainty, Ukraine is suffering from political turmoil with the current President, Viktor Yushchenko, calling a snap parliamentary election for December. The Prime Minister, Yulia Tymoshenko, has made moves to stop the election. Ukraine’s yearly trade deficit has increased by almost $7 billion since last year.

The credit line by the European Central Bank is the first time publicly that it has extended help to countries other than the 15 that make up the Eurozone.

According to Reuters, Hungary might be able to start the process of joining the euro quicker then expected. Currently, Hungary is on track to join the euro in 2011 or 2012, but if sped up, it is possible it could join as early as 2010. This might protect Hungary from further financial problems.



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September 8, 2005

Ukrainian president Yushchenko dismisses PM, cabinet

Ukrainian president Yushchenko dismisses PM, cabinet

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Thursday, September 8, 2005

Viktor Yushchenko, President of Ukraine announced the dismissal of his government Thursday, under accusations of graft and political infighting. Amongst those dismissed was Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko.

Yushchenko, who won the Presidency almost one year ago, in what became known worldwide as the “Orange Revolution” had vowed to stamp out the corruption that was widespread under Leonid Kuchma. Most of the dismissed officials took part in the revolution that swept the popular Yushchenko into power.

Yushchenko announced that Yuriy Yekhanurov, governor of the Dnipropetrovsk province would replace Tymoshenko, as PM and form a new government. He also claimed that he wanted to give a fresh start to an administration that he said failed to meet the high expectations of supporters.

According to Yushchenko, the dismissed officials “…remain my friends. It is very difficult but today I must remove this Gordian knot,” criticising the dismissed officials for lack of team spirit.

It is hoped by analysts that the technocratic Yekhanurov would help strengthen the country’s economy, which has suffered recently from a sharp downturn and inflation.

The move is seen as leading to a possible standoff between the President and his dismissed Prime Minister in the upcoming 2006 parliamentary elections, as Tymoshenko is both a powerful political figure and leads her own party alliance. Tymoshenko had a notable role within the Orange Revolution as a public speaker whose speeches brought thousands of supporters to the Yushchenko camp, in a revolution that caught the world’s attention. She was recently named the third most powerful woman in the world, behind such major political figures as U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and Wu Yi of the People’s Republic of China.

There had been noted friction between the President and Prime Minister in recent months, largely over the country’s economy. The friction ultimately led the resignation of Yushchenko’s chief of staff, who cited deep corruption within the administration. This friction may make it difficult for Yekhanurov to be confirmed by the parliament, in which the Pro-Yushchenko groups do not control a majority.

According to the Ukrainian Constitution, special elections to the Verkhovna Rada (Ukrainian parliament) can be called by the President to be held within sixty days of the initial call. As of yet, with the March elections around the corner, there appears to be no indication that Yushchenko will be calling for special elections.

International response has been mostly similar, with Russian President Vladimir Putin, the U.S. and Ukraine’s neighbor, Poland downplaying the dismissals as being of no cause for alarm.

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