Tymoshenko trial jeopardises Ukraine trade deal, warns EU

Conviction of president’s rival would be ‘incompatible with EU values’, says minister during Yalta visit

Dmitry Medvedev, Viktor Yanukovych and Vladimir Putin

Viktor Yanukovych (centre) with Dmitry Medvedev and Vladimir Putin in Russia. Photograph: Sergei Karpukhin/EPA

The EU is threatening to downgrade relations with Ukraine and frustrate its attempts to move closer into Europe‘s orbit unless the former Soviet republic drops a landmark case rapidly heading towards a verdict against its former prime minister Yulia Tymoshenko.

Viktor Yanukovych, Ukraine’s president, has been warned that Europe sees the case against Tymoshenko as a politically motivated attempt to silence his chief rival.

EU officials say a conviction would be “incompatible with EU values” and jeopardise the finalisation of a free trade agreement that would solidify the country’s ties to Brussels.

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