Ukraine welcomes Polish backing over Euro 2012 boycott calls
11 May 2012
The Ukrainian government has hailed Polish President Bronislaw Komorowski’s rejection of calls to boycott UEFA Euro 2012 games in Ukraine as a demonstration of the close relationship between the two host countries.
European Commission president Jose Manuel Barroso, along with at least two other commissioners, will not attend games in Ukraine amid an ongoing dispute over the country’s imprisoned opposition politician Yulia Tymoshenko. Tymoshenko is currently serving a seven-year prison sentence for alleged abuse-of-office – a charge she denies – and has alleged she has been beaten by prison guards. Commentators have criticised her imprisonment as a means of political revenge on the part of Viktor Yanukovich after the two officials fought a bitter battle for the presidency in February 2010.
Komorowski has ignored calls from Polish opposition leader Jaroslaw Kaczynski to boycott the games in Ukraine, calling the measure “inappropriate,” and Ukraine’s Foreign Ministry has welcomed his position, adding that Euro 2012 should not be politicised. “With his appeal, the Polish president has once again confirmed that his country is a close and reliable partner and ally of Ukraine, and that its citizens and elite clearly recognise the importance of a democratic, successful European Ukraine for the geopolitical future of the continent,” the ministry’s said in a statement reported by RIA Novosti.
The statement echoes the position of newly-elected Russian President Vladimir Putin, who said last week: “In absolutely every case, you can’t mix politics, business and other issues with sport.”