Interfax: Ukraine PM: EU no longer says Tymoshenko “as pure as the driven snow”

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DONETSK, Ukraine. Nov 9 (Interfax) – According to Ukrainian Prime Minister Mykola Azarov, the European Union initially claimed that his jailed predecessor Yulia Tymoshenko was an innocent victim of political scheming but no longer does so and insists on clemency for her rather than on her acquittal.

Azarov puts the EU’s alleged volte-face to the credit of European Parliament monitors Aleksander Kwasniewski and Pat Cox, who have made dozens of visits to Ukraine.

“At first they came to the country with a black-and-white perception – the government is bad, it isolates its political adversary, who is as pure as the driven snow. However, after they had spent a long time looking at the true evidence, it became clear to them that the situation is far from black-and-white, absolutely not black-and-white. They brought this position to the attention of European diplomacy. That was a big deal,” Azarov told a conference in Donetsk of the ruling Party of Regions.

Ukraine needs such “objective people, who having got to the essence of the problem have been able to bring it home to the European Union quite objectively,” he said.

“Now nobody tells us any more, except for individual politicians, that there’s no guilt there. Now they say, let’s pardon her. But one pardons someone who’s guilty, doesn’t one, how can an innocent person be pardoned? So the work that has been done by our partners has been extremely useful. We value and respect it a great deal,” Azarov said.

He blamed those “individual politicians” for the EU’s refusal to sign a planned association agreement with Ukraine before the Tymoshenko stalemate is resolved.

In talking to reporters in Donetsk after the conference, he said: “If anyone becomes as bold – I primarily mean European politicians – as to put the future of our country or such a highly important political decision on a par with this very questionable demand on Tymoshenko – very questionable from the legal point of view, and from any other point of view, for that matter, – they will take on a lot of responsibility. And it won’t be our responsibility either.”