Ukraine failed to anticipate the angry Western reaction to its treatment of jailed ex-prime minister Yulia Tymoshenko and the dispute risks ruining its hosting of the Euro 2012 soccer championship, observers said.
The Euro 2012 tournament co-hosted with Poland was set to be a glorious showcase for the ex-Soviet country, but President Viktor Yanukovych appears to have scored a massive own goal by allowing it to be overshadowed by the Tymoshenko case.
Austria has announced it will boycott all matches hosted by Ukraine, a move that reportedly could be matched by Germany. All EU commissioners will also be absent, while at least seven EU heads of state are shunning a summit to be hosted by Yanukovych in Yalta this month.
Tymoshenko, who was jailed for seven years on charges of abuse of power in October, upped the stakes in her standoff with the authorities last month by going on hunger strike and claiming she had been beaten by prison guards.
With an efficient PR machine fronted by the opposition leader’s telegenic, London School of Economics-educated daughter Yevgeniya, the Western reaction led by Germany has been tough, and it clearly caught the Yanukovych government off guard.
“No one expected that Germany would kick up such a fuss,”said a Ukrainian source close to the presidency, admitting that the administration had not drawn up any response to the crisis.
1. up the stakes v. phr.
使情勢更危急 (shi3 qing2 shi4 geng4 wei2 ji2)
例: The stowaways are trying to up the stakes by refusing to eat until they are given money and aid.
2. catch off guard v. phr.
來不及應變 (lai2 bu4 ji2 ying4 bian4)
例: One of the larger airlines caught its rivals off guard yesterday by suddenly announcing a cut in fares.
3. kick up a fuss v. phr.
挑起事端；大發牢騷 (tiao1 qi3 shi4 duan1; da4 fa1 lao2 sao1)
例: The customer kicked up such a fuss about the food that the manager came to apologize.