The leaders of five EU countries have boycotted the Central and Eastern European summit to be held on May 11-12 in Ukraine. Together with a number of other high-ranking EU officials, they will also not attend European Football Championship co-hosted by Poland and Ukraine in June.
This coordinated diplomatic move is the first of its kind to force Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych to release his political opponent, former Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko, from prison where she is currently on a hunger strike.
The effectiveness of the European boycott remains to be seen. However, there is also a risk that that the EU will push Ukraine further away and closer to Russia at a time when Kyiv trying to renegotiate the controversial 2009 gas supply deal signed by Tymoshenko with her Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin.
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