Friday

19th Apr 2019

Tymoshenko on hunger strike over EU treaty

  • Orthodox priest at Kiev protest on Sunday (Photo: mac_ivan)

Ukraine's best known opposition leader, Yulia Tymoshenko, has said she will not eat until President Viktor Yanukovych signs an EU treaty.

"I am going on an indefinite hunger strike with a demand for Yanukovych to sign the association and free trade agreements with the EU," she declared in a communique sent to press by her political party on Monday (25 November).

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Support quality EU news

Get instant access to all articles — and 18 year's of archives. 30 days free trial.

... or join as a group

She said she is doing it "as a sign of unity and solidarity" with anti-Yanukovych protesters.

She dubbed his administration "an authoritarian mafia" and called on demonstrators to "wipe him off Ukraine’s face by peaceful and constitutional means" if he does not change his mind.

For his part, Yanukovych said on TV the same day he took the "difficult decision" because "millions" of people would have lost their jobs if he signed.

He described himself as the "father" of "our big Ukrainian family."

He also said he will continue to make reforms "to build a society of European standards in Ukraine" despite the treaty fiasco.

The two adversaries spoke out after tens of thousands of people came to anti-Yanukovych rallies over the weekend.

Protesters in central Kiev on Monday evening fought police for 30 minutes after breaking into a van believed to contain telephone snooping equipment.

Another demonstration is scheduled for 9am Kiev time on Tuesday.

The hunger strike is Tymoshenko's third one since she was put behind bars in August 2011.

German doctors say she is in bad health to begin with and needs specialist treatment.

Yanukovych claims he said No to the EU pact because Russia threatened to impose a trade ban that would have ruined factories in eastern Ukraine.

But EU diplomats say he did it to win elections in 2015, by keeping Tymoshenko in jail and by keeping the Kremlin off his back.

The EU's top officials, Jose Manuel Barroso and Herman Van Rompuy, played nice with Yanukovych on Monday.

They said from Brussels they "strongly disapprove of the Russian position and actions" on Ukraine.

They also hinted they might give him more money if things go well, adding "the EU stands ready to be more open and more supportive to those who are willing to engage in reforms."

Yanukovych made his u-turn one week before he was to sign the pact at an EU summit with former Soviet states in Vilnius on 28 November.

Poland's foreign minister, Radek Sikorski, has said he can still make a u-turn on the u-turn via a new decision by Ukraine's Security Council.

EU neighbourhood commissioner Stefan Fuele said he can do it on an EU-Ukraine summit due in "late winter or early spring."

The EU-Ukraine treaty - described by think tanks as a blueprint for Ukraine's future EU accession - was to be the centrepiece of the Lithuania event.

Ukraine's foreign minister, Leonid Kozhara, said Yanukovych will still go to Vilnius despite the nasty atmosphere.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel has also confirmed she will go.

EU seeks mini-trade detente with US

EU states have agreed to open trade talks with the US in a bid to rebuild relations with their oldest partner on the world stage.

EU migrants sneaking into US from Mexico

Almost 1,000 Romanian nationals were caught trying to sneak into the United States in 2017, of which around half attempted to cross via Mexico. Nationals from countries like Hungary and the UK were also intercepted.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Counter BalanceSign the petition to help reform the EU’s Bank
  2. UNICEFChild rights organisations encourage candidates for EU elections to become Child Rights Champions
  3. UNESDAUNESDA Outlines 2019-2024 Aspirations: Sustainability, Responsibility, Competitiveness
  4. Counter BalanceRecord citizens’ input to EU bank’s consultation calls on EIB to abandon fossil fuels
  5. International Partnership for Human RightsAnnual EU-Turkmenistan Human Rights Dialogue takes place in Ashgabat
  6. Nordic Council of MinistersNew campaign: spot, capture and share Traces of North
  7. Nordic Council of MinistersLeading Nordic candidates go head-to-head in EU election debate
  8. Nordic Council of MinistersNew Secretary General: Nordic co-operation must benefit everybody
  9. Platform for Peace and JusticeMEP Kati Piri: “Our red line on Turkey has been crossed”
  10. UNICEF2018 deadliest year yet for children in Syria as war enters 9th year
  11. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic commitment to driving global gender equality
  12. International Partnership for Human RightsMeet your defender: Rasul Jafarov leading human rights defender from Azerbaijan

Latest News

  1. Romania drafts EU code on NGO migrant rescues
  2. Bulgaria, Hungary, and Malta shamed on press unfreedom
  3. EU drafts $20bn US sanctions list in aviation dispute
  4. Brunei defends stoning to death of gay men in EU letter
  5. US Democrats side with Ireland on Brexit
  6. Wifi or 5G to connect EU cars? MEPs weigh in
  7. How Brexit may harm the new EU parliament
  8. EU parliament backs whistleblower law

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us