German Chancellor Angela Merkel said that people in Ukraine and Belarus suffer under “dictatorship and repression,” her sharpest comment since jailed Ukrainian opposition leader Yulia Tymoshenko’s hunger strike.
Merkel’s criticism, made in a speech to lower-house lawmakers in Berlin today, came as German doctors supervise Tymoshenko’s health in Ukraine. EU officials have said they won’t attend Euro 2012 soccer championship events in Ukraine. The tournament is being hosted by Ukraine and Poland next month.
“Today, Germany and the European Union are living in peace and freedom,” Merkel said, noting that May 8 was the anniversary of the end of World War II. “Unfortunately, not all of Europe is, because in Ukraine and Belarus people are still suffering under dictatorship and repression.”
Tymoshenko was found guilty of overstepping her authority as premier when signing a gas accord with Russia in 2009. She began a hunger strike April 20 after saying she was attacked by three men, punched and forced to go to a hospital near Kharkiv.
A probe by the Prosecutor General’s Office showed she wasn’t beaten, Foreign Ministry spokesman Oleksandr Dikusarov said on May 8. Tymoshenko was transferred to hospital for treatment supervised by German doctors yesterday after ending her two-and-a-half-week hunger strike.
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