A Foreign Office spokesman has confirmed that no ministers will attend England’s group-stage matches in Ukraine, adding: “We are keeping attendance at later stages of the tournament under review in the light of ministers’ busy schedules ahead of the Olympics and widespread concerns about selective justice and the rule of law in Ukraine.”

Ukraine’s former prime minister, Yulia Tymoshenko, was jailed for seven years in October after what her supporters say was a “show trial”.

The current president of Ukraine, Viktor Yanukovych, has refused to release Tymoshenko despite weeks of EU pressure.

Tymoshenko staged a hunger strike in April after photos appeared showing her covered in bruises. She claimed that prison guards had assaulted her and punched her in the stomach.

The government’s decision to boycott Euro games in Ukraine follows the announcement of several EU countries, led by Germany, that they would not attend games played in Ukraine.

Yanukovych has been criticised for leading an increasingly authoritarian regime that is taking steps to stamp out any coherent political opposition.

Image: Getty

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