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Wednesday 13 December 2017

Top Ukrainian leaders to join EU chiefs for talks here

Ukrainian opposition leader Yulia Tymoshenko
Ukrainian opposition leader Yulia Tymoshenko

Fionnan Sheahan and Tom Brady

THREE of Ukraine's most prominent politicians will meet with several EU leaders in Dublin tomorrow as their country remains at the centre of an international crisis.

A major security operation will be mounted by gardai to protect EU leaders, including German Chancellor Angela Merkel, attending the event being hosted by Fine Gael.

The party's EU grouping, the European People's Party (EPP), is holding its pre-European elections congress in Dublin.

Ukraine's Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk and party leaders, Vitaly Klitschko and Yulia Tymoshenko, will attend and the crisis in the Ukraine is expected to dominate the event.

Taoiseach Enda Kenny will miss part of the congress as he has to travel to Brussels to attend an emergency EU summit on the crisis.

But he will return to Dublin tomorrow evening, along with 12 other EU leaders, including Ms Merkel.

Mr Yatsenyuk became prime minister after being a prominent figure during the protests against ousted President Viktor Yanukovych.

Ms Tymoshenko, a former prime minister, was released from prison a fortnight ago following the change of regime. Mr Klitschko, a former world champion boxer, is the leader of the political party, Ukrainian Democratic Alliance for Reform (Udar), and has announced his intention to run in the 2015 Ukrainian presidential election.


Among those attending the event are European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso, European Council President Herman Van Rompuy, Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy and Portugal's Prime Minister Pedro Passos Coelho.

Last night, senior garda officers were putting the final touches to a security plan to protect the VIPs.

The area around the venue for the EPP congress, the National Convention Centre on North Wall Quay in Dublin's Docklands, will be in lockdown for the two days.

Up to five of the VIPs will be making official state visits here and their arrangements will be overseen by the Department of Foreign Affairs. But the rest will be attending as party political figures.

A protest has already been planned by the Socialist Party, who intend to march from Liberty Hall to the Convention Centre tomorrow evening.

Irish Independent

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