Germany said Wednesday (26/03/2014) that Ukraine’s former prime minister Yulia Tymoshenko had crossed a line with leaked comments in which she is heard urging the “wiping out” of Russians.
Chancellor Angela Merkel’s spokesman Steffen Seibert said Ukraine’s political leadership must reject “violent fantasies” and strive for stability and inclusion of minorities
“Despite all opposition to Russian actions in Crimea and all differences of opinion, even fundamental ones, there are of course lines in speech and thought that must not be crossed, and violent images, violent fantasies lie far beyond those lines,” he told reporters.
He said the Ukrainian government must serve “all parts of the population and all regions”.
“Stabilisation of the country and reconciliation are crucial, and that is what the German government with its international partners wants to foster on the way to free and fair elections at the end of May,” he said.
“Escalation must be avoided on that path,” he added.
Tymoshenko, a highly controversial figure in both Ukraine and Russia who was released from jail last month, is heard on the tape saying: “One has to take up arms and go wipe out these damn ‘katsaps’ together with their leader”.
The word “katsap” is a Ukrainian slur against Russians.
Tymoshenko, the 53-year-old leader of the 2004 pro-democracy Orange Revolution, confirmed the voice on the recording broadcast by Russian television was hers but said some of the remarks had been manipulated.
During the conversation, Tymoshenko is said to discuss Russia’s seizure of Ukraine’s Russian-speaking peninsula of Crimea with Ukrainian MP and former government official Nestor Shufrych.
Tymoshenko received treatment at a Berlin clinic for severe back pain this month after her release from jail and returned to Kiev last week. – AFP