The European Union has just received an in-your-face verdict from Kiev as a court convicted former prime minister Yulia Tymoshenko of abusing her office when she signed a gas deal with the Russians in 2009.
She has been sentenced to seven years and a fine of no less than 187 million dollars. The EU has been pleading with Viktor Yanukovych to call off the trial or shunt it off to something administrative.
The Ukranian president persisted with the trial and now it will remain to be seen whether the EU can carry it out.
Foreign policy supremo Catherine Ashton issued the following statement after the verdict was publicized "The EU will reflect on its policies toward Ukraine," she said in a statement on behalf of the European Union.
"The way the Ukrainian authorities will generally respect universal values and rule of law, and specifically how they will handle these cases, risks having profound implications for the EU-Ukraine bilateral relationship, including for the conclusion of the Association Agreement, our political dialogue and our cooperation more broadly."
France and Germany want to preserve relations with Putin's Russia and are actually pleased that the verdict will prevent the Ukraine from drawing closer to the EU.
The verdict in the Tymoshenko case was pronounced within the framework of a procedure that clearly ignored the defendant’s rights. "This confirms that the prosecution of Tymoshenko and her government members is politically motivated,” French Foreign Ministry spokesman Bernard Valero said.
A Ukrainian court's guilty verdict against former prime minister Yulia Tymoshenko for abuse of power will cast a 'negative spotlight' on the country and have consequences on its European relations, German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle said Tuesday.
Countries that supported the Ukraine's entry into the EU were also critical. Swedish Foreign Minister Carl Bildt believes that the guilty verdict in the Yulia Tymoshenko case will endanger tolerant relations between Ukraine and the EU
Poland currently holds the EU's rotating presidency and has lobbied for the Ukraine. It also voiced disappointment as a country that "has consistently supported, and still supports, the Ukrainian nation in its European choice. Ukraine’s European aspirations stand for the necessity to strengthen and apply the norms and standards typical of the political and social order of the European Union,” said the Polish reaction.
The Poles viewed the verdict as evidence of a politicized judiciary in the Ukraine.
A minority position within the EU argues that Brussels was partially to blame, as it refused to give the Ukraine encouragement and the same benefit of the doubt that it had extended to other East European states who were now EU members. It had done the same to countries in the Middle East that ranked below the Ukraine in terms of democracy.
The Russian Foreign Ministry also criticized the verdict that contained a clear "anti-Russian subtext".