Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier issued the following statement on the legislation adopted yesterday by the Ukrainian parliament (Verkhovna Rada):
The route taken yesterday by President Yanukovych is a dead end. Restricting civil rights would only distance Ukraine further from Europe. I am certain that a majority of the Ukrainian people want an open future for their country, in which choosing Europe is still an option.
We expect the political leadership in Kyiv to ensure that political debate is not obstructed by administrative means or prosecuted in the courts following the rejection of Ukraine’s pro EU course. Repression cannot be the response to a politically contentious debate.
Legislation rushed through parliament in Kyiv yesterday includes worrying restrictions on freedom of assembly and freedom of expression, as well as new requirements affecting the work of non governmental organisations in Ukraine.