The EU-Ukraine Association Agreement will not be signed if Yulia Tymoshenko and Yuriy Lutsenko remain behind bars, David Lidington, British Minister for Europe at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, has said, according to the Official web site of Yulia Tymoshenko.

"The Association Agreement is unlikely to be signed and ratified unless opposition leaders jailed as a result of flawed trials are freed and permitted to participate in politics," David Lidington said in an article quoted by the British Embassy in Kyiv.

The Minister stressed that it is an issue of selective justice in Ukraine, not individuals. "Our concerns are not about individual cases but about systemic problems with selective justice and the independence of the judiciary. Such concerns call in to question the commitment of Ukraine’s government to the European values and norms that underpin the Association Agreement and our wider relations," he said.

David Lidington noted that against this background, Ukraine’s parliamentary elections in October 2012 take on particular importance. "As five European Foreign Ministers including William Hague wrote in early March, these elections are a litmus test for democracy in Ukraine. The eyes of the world will be focussed on Ukraine in the hope that the elections will be free and fair," he said.

"We therefore hope that Ukrainian governments – today and in the future - will have the courage to take political decisions that will allow the Association Agreement to take effect and to release Ukraine’s economic and democratic potential," he concluded.