Ukrainian lawmakers failed to pass a bill allowing jailed ex-Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko to get medical treatment abroad, a key demand in talks to sign a trade pact with the European Union.
Parliament in the capital, Kiev, today rejected six drafts of a bill on Tymoshenko, who’s serving a seven-year sentence following an abuse-of-office conviction the 28-member EU sees as selective justice. Opposition lawmakers requested Ukraine’s pardoning commission meet to seal her release, though President Viktor Yanukovych has said in the past that he can’t pardon her.
European governments are urging the former Soviet republic to meet EU demands so it can finalize an association agreement at a Nov. 28-29 summit in the Lithuanian capital of Vilnius. The chance of Ukraine signing the accord is less than 50 percent, Polish Foreign Minister Radoslaw Sikorski said yesterday.
“We’re more and more convinced that Yanukovych is sabotaging the association agreement, that he’s decided not to sign it for reasons that are unknown to the top European politicians that communicate with him,” Tymoshenko’s daughter, Eugenia, said yesterday in an interview at the headquarters of her mother’s opposition party in Kiev.
The yield on the government’s 2023 dollar bond was up 12 basis points, or 0.12 percentage point, to 9.779 percent at 12:07 p.m. in Kiev, erasing earlier gains. The cost to insure Ukrainian debt against non-payment for five years with credit-default swaps rose 4 basis point to 964 percent, the world’s fourth-highest, according to data complied by Bloomberg.
Eugenia Tymoshenko, 33, a graduate of the London School of Economics, sees her mother twice a week and spoke with her Nov. 18. Yesterday she met with ex-European Parliament President Pat Cox and former Polish President Aleksander Kwasniewski, the EU’s main negotiators with Ukraine.
The opposition will “vote for any law, any option that Cox and Kwasniewski confirm and the EU agreed with,” Eugenia Tymoshenko said. Ruling-party lawmakers have sought to include in the Tymoshenko law a fine of as much as $200 million for damage caused when Ukraine signed an energy-supply contract with Russia in 2009 during her stint as premier, she said.
Lawmakers in Kiev today approved an election law that was also required by the EU for signing the trade deal. Still, Ukraine’s pact is “unthinkable” without a resolution in the Tymoshenko case, Lithuanian President Dalia Grybauskaite said yesterday in an interview in Vilnius.
Ukrainian officials, who’ve faced criticism from Russia for their country’s westward trajectory, say they’re still working toward signing the agreement next week as planned. Preparations are being carried out and the necessary documents are being drawn up, Premier Mykola Azarov said yesterday in St. Petersburg, Russia.
Party of Regions’ lawmaker Volodymyr Oliynyk today urged more work on the Tymoshenko bill, telling parliament not to “put an end to European integration.” Tymoshenko wants to travel to Germany to get treatment for chronic back pain.
Opposition parties called on Ukrainians to march in Kiev on Nov. 24 to show their support for the EU agreement. Backing for membership of the 28-nation bloc is 58 percent, according to a poll of 1,000 people this month by researcher IFAK Institut GmbH & Co. It gave no margin of error.