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German MEPs may meet Timoshenko June 14

June 13, 2012, 23:41 UTC+3

The plane with MEPs Rebecca Harms and Werner Schultz was halfway to Kiev when a bolt of lightning was reported to have hit the aircraft

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BERLIN, June 13 (Itar-Tass) —— Two German politicians from the opposition Green Party have flown to Ukraine on Wednesday, June 13, for a meeting with former Prime Minister Yulia Timoshenko after their first attempt had failed earlier in the day.

The plane with MEPs Rebecca Harms and Werner Schultz was halfway to Kiev when a bolt of lightning was reported to have hit the aircraft and it had to return to Frankfurt.

Harms and Schultz were disappointed by the incident. The latter asked: “A bolt of lightning allegedly hit the Lufthansa plane halfway and I wonder why we had to return and not continue the flight because the distance was the same.”

He was told in reply that Kiev’s airport does not have technical means to check the plane to make sure it is fit for further operation after the incident.

Schultz, a member of the Foreign Affairs Committee of the European Parliament from the German Green party, told DPA that a meeting with Timoshenko, who is undergoing medical treatment at a hospital in Kharkov, can take place on Thursday, June 14.

He told the Tagesspiegel newspaper earlier in the day that the UEFA Championship in Poland and Ukraine is a good time for voicing criticism over how the Ukrainian authorities treat the opposition and for supporting those who are prosecuted and put in jail for political reasons.

On October 20, 2011, the Prosecutor General's Office cancelled the decision to close the criminal case against Timoshenko in which she was charged with embezzlement of more than 25 million hryvnia (more than 10 million U.S. dollars at the exchange rate of 1995-1997, when Timoshenko headed the Unified Energy Systems of Ukraine) and tax evasion in the amount of more than 20 million hryvnia.

On October 11, 2011, Kiev's Pechersky District Court sentenced Yulia Timoshenko to seven years in prison.

Timoshenko has also been barred from holding public positions for three years and has to pay a penalty of 189 million U.S. dollars in damages to Naftogaz Ukrainy.

In late December 2011, Timoshenko was transferred from the investigation prison to a correctional facility in the eastern Kharkov region.

Timoshenko is also facing new charges as former head of the Unified Energy Systems of Ukraine.

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