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US envoy says Ukraine fails test by jailing Tymoshenko

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Sept. 15, 2012, 5:51 p.m. | Ukraine — by Associated Press

European Union former policy chief and former NATO secretary-general Javier Solana, right, and U.S. Deputy assistant Secretary of State, Thomas O. Melia seen during the 9th Yalta Annual Meeting entitled 'Ukraine and the World: Addressing Tomorrow’s Challenges Together', organized by the Yalta European Strategy (YES) in partnership with the Victor Pinchuk Foundation at the Livadia Palace in Yalta, Ukraine, Saturday, Sept. 15, 2012. More than 200 leaders from politics, business and society representing more than 20 countries will discuss major global challenges and their impact on Europe, Ukraine and the world.
© AP Photo

Associated Press

Associated Press

YALTA, Ukraine — A top U.S. official says Ukraine is failing its test on democracy in the run up to parliamentary elections, citing the jailing of ex-Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko and shrinking media freedoms.

The jailing of Tymoshenko, the country's top opposition leader and heroine of the 2004 Orange Revolution, has strained Ukraine's relations with the West. The European Union has frozen a key cooperation deal with Kiev.

Thomas Melia, the U.S. assistant deputy secretary of state for democracy, human rights and labor, said Saturday the election set for October has been compromised by jailing of Tymoshenko and another top opposition leader. Melia said Ukraine "failed the test today."

Tymoshenko has spent over a year in jail, after being convicted of abuse of office charges she rejects and describes as political.

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