Carl Bildt, William Hague, Karel Schwarzenberg, Radoslaw Sikorski and Guido Westerwelle - the foreign ministers of Sweden, Britain, the Czech Republic, Poland and Germany - have today written a letter to the 'New York Times'.
"We cannot, however, conceal our growing concerns regarding the state of democracy in Ukraine. Independent media and civil society organizations report pressure from the authorities.
In late 2010, criminal proceedings were started against a number of leading opposition politicians. And a year later, former Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko was sentenced to seven years in prison for allegedly abusing her office, following a trial that has been widely criticized both in Ukraine and abroad as not meeting international standards.
Moreover, more than a dozen other opposition politicians are facing similar charges. On Feb. 27, the former minister of the interior, Yuri Lutsenko, was sentenced to four years in prison after another disappointing trial.
These trials bear the marks of politically motivated and selective justice. According to independent experts, they have been conducted in a manner that has failed to respect the principles of the rule of law and the human rights of the defendants.
These developments are incompatible with Ukraine’s own European choice. Democracy, human rights and the rule of law are the values underpinning the association agreement and Ukraine has already committed itself to them in the framework of the O.S.C.E., the Council of Europe, and also vis-à-vis the E.U. Thus, it is fair to say that the association agreement has been imprisoned, and the Ukrainian leadership is holding the key. "
Yanukovych has made his decision. He is prepared to pay the price of isolation rather than release his most feared political opponents from prison.