Mr. SHIMKUS. Mr. Speaker, the Ukraine, once a model for democratic transition in the Eurasia region and the world after the Orange Revolution, has been experiencing significant backsliding in democracy. The Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe found that the October elections did not meet international standards, and the arrest and continued harassment and mistreatment of opposition leaders, including the former prime minister, Yulia Tymoshenko, also causes concern. The trial against Ms. Tymoshenko in the gas case was described as selective persecution in statements by the U.S., Russia, United Kingdom, Germany, Italy, Spain, and other European countries.
On July 16, 2012, our colleague, Chris Smith, introduced a measure calling for Ukrainian authorities to release political opposition leaders and hold free and fair elections. At the beginning of a new year, I call on Ukrainian officials to immediately free Ms. Tymoshenko and other political prisoners.