Tymoshenko's daughter meets German minister
BERLIN – The daughter of jailed former Ukrainian Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko met with Germany's justice minister Monday in a bid to increase European pressure on Ukraine's leadership over her mother's case.
But Eugenia Tymoshenko's attempt to meet with German leader Angela Merkel failed, despite a cross-country dash to a party election event where the chancellor was due to speak late Monday.
Eugenia Tymoshenko had a private meeting with Justice Minister Sabine Leutheusser-Schnarrenberger in Berlin to discuss her mother's case and the rule of law in Ukraine, ministry spokesman Anders Mertzlufft said.
Yulia Tymoshenko has been on hunger strike for about two weeks and needs medical treatment for a back condition. She is serving a seven-year prison sentence on charges of abuse of power, a case the West has strongly condemned as politically motivated.
Eugenia Tymoshenko made no comments as she walked to her meeting with the minister and canceled a scheduled news conference with lawmakers from Merkel's party to travel to the western city of Paderborn where the chancellor was due to appear.
But German government spokesman Steffen Seibert had already said that Merkel wouldn't meet Eugenia Tymoshenko, though he added she was "up to date on all the developments of the Tymoshenko case."
According to the German dapd news agency, Eugenia Tymoshenko left the Paderborn event before Merkel arrived.
German leaders have offered Tymoshenko medical treatment in their country, a move Kiev has rejected.
Tymoshenko reportedly agreed last week to receive medical treatment in a Ukrainian facility in the presence of one German doctor. The Berliner Morgenpost newspaper reported that Lutz Harms, a leading neurologist at Berlin's renowned Charite hospital, was traveling to Ukraine.
Germany has been at the forefront of Europe's critical stance on Ukraine's handling of the Tymoshenko case and those of other jailed prominent opposition politicians.
Pressure on Ukraine has grown over the past two weeks as more European officials announced they intend to refrain from attending any of the European soccer championship's matches to be held in Ukraine in June.
Ukrainian Prime Minister Mykola Azarov denounced those decisions Monday, saying calls to boycott the games were an attempt to humiliate his country.
"Who do they want to humiliate? They want to humiliate us, our whole people, our country," Azarov was quoted as saying by the Interfax news agency.