EU Condemns Tymoshenko Sentence, Warns It Could Hurt Ties with Ukraine

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The EU says it is deeply disappointed with the Tymoshenko sentence and warns the ruling could hurt ties with Ukraine. Ex-prime minister Yulia Tymoshenko has been sentenced to seven years in prison on charges of exceeding her authority while brokering a gas deal with Russia.

The European Commission said on Tuesday that it was "deeply disappointed" by the sentencing of Ukraine's ex-prime minister Yulia Tymoshenko to seven years in prison.

The Commission adds that it believes the sentencing will have deep implications for Kiev's relations with the bloc.

EU commission president Jose Manuel Barroso says the 27-member bloc is not happy with the ruling and is calling for a fair appeal process.

[Jose Manuel Barroso, EU Commission President]:
"We are deeply disappointed with the verdict in the Yulia Tymoshenko case, we know there is a possibility of an appeal, we hope that in this appeal the rule of law, the fundamental rights and also the independence of the judiciary will be fully respected."

EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton says the trial confirms that justice is being applied selectively in Ukraine.

[Catherine Ashton, EU Foreign Relations Chief]:
"Unfortunately what we are seeing confirms justice is being applied selectively in what we see as politically motivated prosecutions of the leaders of the opposition and members of the former government."

Ashton adds that Tymoshenko's case could affect relations between Ukraine and the EU.

[Catherine Ashton, EU Foreign Relations Chief]:
"The way the authorities will generally respect our values and rule of law and specifically how they handle these cases -- these risk having real implications for that bilateral relationship between Europe and Ukraine." ...

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