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10th Apr 2021

EU in talks to get Tymoshenko into German clinic

EU envoys are in talks with Ukraine to let jailed opposition leader Yulia Tymoshenko get medical care in Germany at an important moment in bilateral relations.

EU diplomatic sources told EUobserver the plan is being discussed at several levels.

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  • Tymoshenko waves to cameras on way to jail (Photo: byut.org)

One contact said Patrick Cox, a former European Parliament president, and Aleksander Kwasniewski, a former Polish head of state, are the "main channel of communication."

The two men were tasked by the EU parliament last June to oversee Tymoshenko's wellbeing.

The contact said the EU and US ambassadors in Kiev are also working on the idea.

"It's very much on the agenda," he noted.

Another EU source said the plan is "the main topic" of a meeting between German foreign minister Guido Westerwelle and his Ukrainian counterpart, Leonid Kozhara, in Kiev on Friday.

The German and Ukrainian foreign ministries declined to confirm the information.

But a German spokesman said: "Whenever we talk about prospects for an EU-Ukraine association agreement … Ms Tymoshenko is one element that we have to bring up and that we want to see a constructive approach towards."

Tymoshenko, who has spinal problems, was in 2011 jailed for seven years on charges of abuse of office while prime minister.

Most EU countries say she was locked up to stop her competing against President Viktor Yanukovych in the next elections.

Several also say the EU should not sign a political association and trade treaty with Ukraine at a summit in Lithuania in November, as planned, if she is behind bars at the time.

The German idea could help all concerned.

If Tymoshenko is in a clinic in Germany when EU leaders meet Yanukovych, they can sign the treaty without causing a PR disaster and he can sign it without losing control.

"It all depends on the conditions that Yanukovych will try to impose," one of the EU diplomatic sources noted.

"We think it has to be a trip for several months, not just a few weeks. The authorities would like her not to comment on political events while she is in hospital. To sit quietly. But I can't see her giving such a guarantee," he added.

For his part, Serhiy Vlasenko, Tymoshenko's lawyer, said it is too early to talk about conditions.

"Let's wait until there is a decision [to let her go]. Then let's talk about the decision," he told this website on Thursday.

He said the situation is unpredictable because so much power is in the hands of one man.

"Yanukovych says he is a European-type president and has no power over the courts. But every child in Ukraine can tell you this is not true," he noted.

"We might have a deal at 9am. But at 9.30am we might not," he added.

"It all depends on Yanukovych's mood. If he wakes up in a good mood, we have one situation. If he wakes up in a bad mood, it's another situation," he said.

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