Editor's Note: The press release is from the UDAR Party led by heavyweight boxing champion Vitali Klitschko.
Washington, DC – UDAR Leader Vitaly Klitschko met with former American presidential candidate and US Senator John McCain at his office in the United States Capital. Central focus of the discussion between the two politicians was the Ukrainian court decision sentencing
former Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko to seven years of imprisonment.
Klitschko stressed that bad government policies should be evaluated by voters during free and fair elections. Courts of law should not be used in political show trials against
the policies of former officials. Klitschko said he was concerned that Ukraine’s government was again playing with the rules of the game to fulfill their political objectives rather than providing citizens with a fair set of rules that would allow them to prosper. Changes to the Constitution; amendments to the tax code; prohibiting free expressions of speech and public gatherings; as well as proposed changes to the parliamentary election law suggests those in power today are doing everything to manipulate the rules to stay in power longer. Their actions have nothing to do with improving the lives of Ukrainians today or in the future.
US Senator McCain was categorical in his assessment of the situation in Ukraine. McCain followed closely the uprisings in northern Africa and the Middle East and engaged in telephone diplomacy with Egyptian President Hosni Mubarek encouraging him to step down during the height of street riots. Regarding Ukraine, McCain together with Senator Joe Lieberman, another former American presidential candidate, released the following statement:
“With the sentencing today of former Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko to seven years in prison, the Ukrainian government under President Yanukovych has reached an alarming new low in the deterioration of democracy and the rule of law. Today’s verdict was the product of a politically motivated trial that did not meet international standards; it was aimed at silencing a member of the opposition. For that reason, it is about far more than the fate of one Ukrainian leader. It goes directly to the question of whether the Ukrainian government respects basic human rights and its international commitment, and whether Ukrainian citizens receive equal treatment under the law.”
The US and Europe will “make clear to the Ukrainian government that the benefits of Euro-Atlantic integration will not be available to Ukraine so long as it violates the values of freedom, political pluralism, and the true rule of law that lies at the heart of the Euro-Atlantic community,” Senators McCain and Lieberman said.