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3 Mar, 2024 02:02

Ukrainian opposition complains to EU about ‘repression’

The European Solidarity party has decried the “authoritarianism” spreading within the country
Ukrainian opposition complains to EU about ‘repression’

Former Ukrainian President Pyotr Poroshenko’s party has appealed to the EU leadership, calling for the “restoration of freedom of speech” and political plurality in the country, while condemning Kiev’s “authoritarianism.”

The Ukrainian authorities recently prevented the former president, who heads the European Solidarity party (which has 27 MPs in the 450-seat parliament), from leaving Ukraine to attend the Munich Security Conference due to alleged threats to his life – which he called an “offense against democracy.”

Earlier this week, Oliver Varhelyi, the EU commissioner for enlargement and neighborhood policy, shared Poroshenko’s letter, in which the former president pleaded with Brussels to pressure Kiev to stop its “discriminatory” practices.

“According to the government’s logic, it is not the actions of officials who violate the rights and freedoms of Ukrainians that harm European integration, but those who, for example, apply for protection of rights, for example to the ECHR or other international institutions,” the party said in a statement published on the official website on Friday, while decrying Kiev’s “emotional and inadequate” reaction to the letter.

The opposition party lamented the government’s “absolutism,” claiming the authorities act with “impunity” and are “used to a monologue and applause” rather than dialogue, while reacting nervously to criticism.

According to the statement, the Ukrainian government remains “deaf” to society, which results in “multiple mistakes,” making it impossible for the opposition to stay silent as “authoritarianism” spreads inside Ukraine.

“Why does a democratic country need an opposition that is silent?” the party said, demanding “open dialogue of the authorities with society and the opposition,” lifting the restrictions on international travel for Poroshenko, as well as “the restoration of freedom of speech, the restoration of Ukrainian TV channels,” and “the return of journalists to the parliament’s meeting hall and the broadcasting of meetings on the Rada channel.”

The party also insisted that the security forces should refrain from putting pressure “on the mass media, businesses, public activists, and the opposition,” and called for the restoration of parliamentary control over the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine. 

Poroshenko lost the 2019 election in a landslide to the current president of Ukraine, Vladimir Zelensky, who campaigned on a promise of making peace in Donbass, only to reverse course and seek NATO support in its confrontation with Russia.

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