Message to Yanukovych: Call off the thugs, call elections instead
5th February 2014
Ukraine's President needs to call off his henchmen and call elections instead if his country is to move towards peace and prosperity, the European Parliament was told today.
In a speech in Strasbourg Charles Tannock, Conservative foreign affairs spokesman, said President Yanukovych must halt the violence of his security forces, free key political prisoners and allow his people an immediate vote on their future. He said the Kiev regime should face serious EU sanctions if the Government persisted in repressing peaceful protest.
Dr Tannock, Conservative MEP for London, told the Parliament:
"I believe in Ukraineís European aspirations, and have looked on with shock at the country's recent descent into political chaos.
"Of course I donít support violent protests but the evidence overwhelmingly points to a popular impeachment of the government and intended peaceful activism, which cannot be represented by a few rogue ultranationalist thuggish elements. Rather, the shooting, and abductions, visited on some of the protesters, if proven, signifies a serious indictment of the security services and the Government controlling them.
"President Yanukovych made a grave error in snubbing the EU at Vilnius, but he has compounded it with many since. The solution must be to call elections quickly so the people can express their will and country's future geopolitical orientation. I call on the Government to free Yulia Tymoshenko and jailed activists and I remind Ukraine of its international obligations to protect the right of peaceful protest and not become another Belarus."
After the debate he said:
"It has become clear to me that Russia's behaviour towards Ukraine recently has not only been threatening and anti-democratic, it has also been illegal under the terms of its existing international agreements.
"I wold urge the international community to read, as I have, the Memorandum on Assurances given to Ukraine upon joining Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty in 1994. At a conference in Budapest, the UK, US, France and Russia all guaranteed the territorial integrity and political independence of Ukraine and pledged not to coerce the country by economic pressure to bend their way.
"Russia can now certainly be accused of violating that obligation."