Outrage of the treatment of jailed Ukrainian ex-prime minister Yulia Tymoshenko is threatening to spill over to this summer’s Euro 2012 championships which Ukraine is co-hosting.
Der Spiegel magazine claims Germany’s Chancellor Angela Merkel could boycott the football tournament, shared with neighbouring Poland.
In the past few days Tymoshenko has gone on hunger strike to protest allegedly being beaten up in her cell.
Germany has been particularly critical of Tymoshenko’s imprisonment which some officials in western governments claim was politically motivated.
A poll by the Sunday edition of the newspaper Bild has found that 52 percent of Germans are in favour of Merkel and her ministers staying away from matches in Ukraine.
At least half were against Ukraine being chosen to host the championship in the first place.
“I think a boycott is the right thing to do because the public needs to become aware of what is happening in Ukraine and how they treat people there,” said Berlin resident Susanne Mengel .
“Euro 2012 is important for Ukraine because it is not as economically strong as we are. The fans should travel there, spend lots of money and have a lot of fun,” said another resident Inghrid Stegmann.
“I think that fundamentally it would make sense to boycott Euro 2012 now but the question is, would it actually make a difference? It would be a shame because we are all looking forward to it,” added Klaus Weisinger.
Meanwhile, EU justice commissioner Vivianne Reding has decided to boycott the games. Her spokesperson told the website EU Observer that Reding is quite concerned about what is happening in Ukraine.