Ukraine Anticipates EU Association Agreement Set Into Motion

KIEV, Ukraine -- Ukraine’s Foreign Ministry said on Tuesday it hopes the country’s European integration will continue and the Association Agreement with the European Union will eventually move forward despite Western criticism of some Ukrainian judicial decisions.

Ukraine - EU Summit in Kiev, 2011.

“We are convinced that the decisions made in the context of our European integration will have a continuation… and we will finally initial a relevant agreement,” Ukrainian Foreign Ministry spokesman Oleksandr Dikusarov said.

The international community and Ukrainian opposition have questioned the issue of democracy in Ukraine over investigations of criminal cases against former officials, in particular, ex-premier Yulia Tymoshenko and former Ukrainian interior minister Yuriy Lutsenko, which they said were politically motivated.

In December 2011, Ukraine and the EU finalized negotiations on the Association Agreement, a deal that could set the former Soviet republic on the way to full membership, but the EU said the signing and ratification of the agreement will depend on the situation around Tymoshenko and on Ukraine’s 2012 parliamentary elections.

Tymoshenko was jailed in October 2011 for seven years on abuse of office charges over a gas deal she concluded with Russia in 2009.

The verdict was internationally condemned as politically motivated.

The ex-premier said she is a victim of a conspiracy by current President Viktor Yanukovych, her long-time political opponent.

The Ukrainian authorities have denied the allegations.

A Ukrainian court on Monday sentenced Lutsenko, an ally of jailed opposition leader Tymoshenko, to four years in prison for abuse of office.

The former minister has denied any wrongdoing, saying his trial was politically motivated, which the Ukrainian authorities denied. EU officials and the U.S. State Department have expressed disappointment over the verdict.

Dikusarov said Ukraine’s best answer to Western criticism will be when the country adopts a new Criminal Procedural Code.

“It is natural that our foreign colleagues are concerned over decisions that were made on the basis of outdated laws."

"We hope the new Criminal Procedural Code, worked out in line with the Council of Europe’s demands, will be adopted and this will be Ukraine’s best practical answer to statements voiced by our colleagues,” he said.

In early February, a presidential draft of the new Criminal Procedural Code passed its first reading in the country’s parliament.

Source: RIA Novosti