EU has strong words for Ukraine

Aug. 24, 2011 at 10:02 AM
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BRUSSELS, Aug. 24 (UPI) -- With Ukraine marking an anniversary of independence from the Soviet Union, Europe is reminding that justice and politics must be separated, an official said.

On Wednesday, Ukraine marked the 20th anniversary of its independence from the Soviet Union.

European Parliament President Jerzy Buzek, in a statement, said he was reminded of Ukraine's refusal to get dragged back toward totalitarianism. Seven years ago, he added, the country reaffirmed its independence through the Orange Revolution, lead by Viktor Yuschenko and Yulia Tymoshenko.

Buzek said, however, that democracy is "fragile," adding recent developments in Kiev suggest more work is needed to reinforce the country's achievements.

"Recent events, unfortunately, also remind us of the importance of an independent judicial system free of any political influence," he said.

Tymoshenko is under investigation for alleged corruption stemming from a 2009 natural gas deal with Russia that helped return deliveries to normal. Western allies, as well as her legal team, claim the charges are politically motivated.

Buzek noted that Brussels was committed to its relations with Ukraine.

"However, we will not have a true and strong cooperation between the European Union and Ukraine without a Ukrainian commitment to respect the rule of law and democracy," he said.

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