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Czech president refuses to take part in Central European summit

April 30, 2012, 22:00 UTC+3

According to local observers, Gauck refused to go to Ukraine due to the situation around Yulia Timoshenko

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PRAGUE, April 30 (Itar-Tass) — Czech President Vaclav Klaus has refused to take part in the summit of Central European countries in Ukraine due to the scandal around former prime minister Yulia Timoshenko, the presidential press service reported on Monday.

“There are several reasons [for refusing to take part in the summit]. But this reason is the main one,” the press service said.

So, Klaus was the second president, who refused to take part in the summit due to take place in Yalta in the middle May. On April 25, German President Joachim Gauck also cancelled his trip to Yalta. “The president’s foreign trips are also coordinated with the government,” the press service said.

According to local observers, Gauck refused to go to Ukraine due to the situation around Yulia Timoshenko.

Timoshenko, who serves her prison term for abuse of office in the Kachanovskaya penal colony, announced a hunger strike. Timoshenko’s hunger strike demonstrates her protest against what is going in the country and personally with her. The court sentenced her on October 11, 2011 for exceeding her authority in the signing of the gas contract with Russia in 2009. She was also compelled to pay 1.51 billion grivnas (about 200 million U.S. dollars) to Neftegaz Ukrainy.

The photographs of April 25 show bruises on Timoshenko’s wrists, a forearm, an elbow and the belly. Experts confirmed this fact.

A new case against her was opened on October 13, 2011 for writing off the debt of the United Energy Systems of Ukraine to the Russian Defence Ministry worth 405,500,500 U.S. dollars to the state budget of Ukraine, while being the corporation president, under conspiracy with other former prime minister Pavel Lazarenko.

The European Union demanded urgent explanations of the Ukrainian authorities about the situation of the former prime minister, who went on a hunger strike at the Kharkov penitentiary in protest against her alleged beating by penitentiary guards.

The European Commission also demanded the access of competent persons and lawyers to Timoshenko.

European countries, including Germany, calls for boycotting the UEFA Champions League 2012 due to take place in Ukraine. The German government made it clear that Chancellor Angela Merkel could refuse to arrive in Ukraine during the Euro 2012 depending on the fate of the former prime minister.

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