Before President Viktor Yanukovych makes a complete fool of himself on the international stage, he should break off his Crimean vacation and issue two orders right away: Release Tymoshenko from jail and drop all the criminal charges against her.
Then Yanukovych – who has monopolized political power and has tremendous influence over all branches of government – should publicly rebuke the judge who, overnight on Aug 7, issued an order banning peaceful demonstrations. Such a ruling clearly tramples on the basic rights guaranteed by Ukraine’s constitution.
As officials from the European Union, US and beyond say, the issue is not about liking or not liking Tymoshenko, who now faces contempt-of-court charges in addition to her ongoing trial on charges of abusing her authority as prime minister in reaching a 2009 gas deal with Russia. Testimony resumes in the trial on Aug. 8.