Posted: Sunday April 29, 2012 11:07 AM

Germany: Officials should boycott Ukraine matches

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BERLIN (AP) - A German minister is urging Europe's top government officials to boycott the Euro2012 soccer championship matches in Ukraine to protest the detention of the country's former Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko.

Environment minister Norbert Roettgen told German tabloid Bild's edition, dated Monday, that it must be ensured that Ukraine - which he labeled a "dictatorship'' - cannot use the soccer championship in June to prop up its image without reforming.

Bild quoted Roettgen as saying that he thinks "visits by ministers or prime ministers are beyond question under the current circumstances.''

Roettgen's remarks were confirmed to The Associated Press on Sunday by his spokeswoman Julika Lendvai. They were the first call by a top European government minister on leaders to abstain from attending the matches.
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