Government of Ukraine respects judicial process

From Mr Volodymyr Khandogiy.

Sir, I am writing to take issue with your editorial’s exaggerated comparison of the trial of Yulia Tymoshenko to that of Mikhail Khodorkovsky (“Ukraine has its Yukos moment, July 20”). This claim is inapposite, misleading and ultimately false.

Unlike Vladimir Putin, who repeatedly voiced his opinion throughout the Yukos trial, President Viktor Yanukovich has refused to comment on the current proceedings against Ms Tymoshenko, and neither will I. In this country the executive branch of government respects the judicial process and does not interfere or attempt to manipulate events.

Since Mr Yanukovich was elected last year, he has striven to reform Ukraine, to introduce both economic liberalisation and anti-corruption measures. Judicial reform is part of the programme as much as pension reform.

Ukraine is fully committed to democratic values, and this includes due process for all individuals accused of criminal wrongdoing. Since the start of investigation by prosecutors, Ms Tymoshenko has spoken freely to media and to her supporters. She is not and has never been placed under arrest. This is far from the circumstances surrounding Mr Khodorkovsky, who was arrested by masked commandos, jailed and then “caged” during his trial. There is no comparison whatsoever between Yukos and the open process taking place in Ukraine.

As you mention, Ukraine is pursuing stronger ties to Europe, with the ultimate goal of integration. Our commitment includes not just tangible internal reforms, but also a commitment to our shared values with Europe, a commitment to democracy, free expression and human rights. Western policymakers have recognised Ukraine’s progress in deepening relations with the European Union. I hope your esteemed journal will see this process and in time avoid unfortunate mischaracterisations such as the Yukos reference.

Volodymyr Khandogiy,

Ambassador of Ukraine to the UK

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