The refusals came from all over Europe: Spain, Belgium, Austria and the Netherlands. Even the Dutch royal family said it wouldn’t come. Germany’s captain said he’d think twice before shaking President Viktor Yanukovych’s hand.
In the first two weeks of May, Ukraine’s co-hosting of the European soccer championship next month is rapidly descending from a lofty opportunity for the nation to prove its Europeanness to a symptom of its deepening isolation.
Several European leaders have threatened to skip the tournament in protest at the treatment of jailed ex-Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko, who went on a hunger strike last month after claiming she had been roughed up by prison guards.
Yanukovych is driving Ukraine into complete isolation.