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Kiev balks on EU reform measures

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KIEV, Ukraine, Nov. 19 (UPI) -- Ukrainian lawmakers were unable to agree on a series of bills meant to align Kiev closer to the European Union, a member of the ruling Party of Regions said Tuesday.

Ukraine is racing to address political and judicial reform measures before members of the European Union take up possible free trade and association agreements in Lithuania next week.

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Oleksandr Yefremov, the head of the Party of Regions faction in the Verkhovna Rada, Ukraine's parliament, said lawmakers were unable to reach a consensus.

"There's no final agreement on any of the bills," he was quoted by the National News Agency of Ukraine as saying.

Ukraine's government was accused of employing selective justice when former Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko was sentenced to seven years in prison in 2011 for her role in a natural gas deal with Russia's Gazprom. The terms of the agreement were viewed as unfavorable to Ukraine. The measure, however, broke an impasse that jeopardized European energy security. A bill that would let her go to Germany for health treatment is among those up for consideration.

Ukraine passed more than a dozen measures aimed at harmonizing with EU standards. Lithuanian Foreign Minister Linas Linkevicius said Monday it would be regrettable if Ukraine let its EU ambitions slip between its fingers.

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