Ukraine paper sorry for saying 'Germany like Third Reich'
(KIEV) - A Ukrainian newspaper owned by an oligarch close to President Viktor Yanukovych on Tuesday apologised for printing an editorial that said Germany had not changed since the Third Reich.
The article printed last week in the top-selling Segodnya newspaper said the Germany of Chancellor Angela Merkel was no different from the Nazi regime of Adolf Hitler, further stoking an intensifying crisis in Berlin-Kiev ties.
Germany has led European criticism of Ukraine's treatment of jailed former prime minister Yulia Tymoshenko and has not ruled out boycotting the matches taking place in Ukraine for the Euro 2012 football tournament.
"The comparison between modern Germany and Nazi Germany made by the author was neither suitable nor justified," the paper's acting editor-in-chief Olga Guk wrote in a statement on Segodnya's website.
"I am very sorry that this happened. It's wrong even in the heat of the debate to make insulting comparisons and claims.
"Sport must unite and not divide people. On behalf of the whole publication and from myself personally I declare our sincere apologies," she said in the editorial which has yet to be published in its printed version.
The editorial caused a huge stir given it was printed in a newspaper owned by Ukrainian billionaire tycoon Rinat Akhmetov, a key patron of Yanukovych from his home region of Donetsk.
The article -- entitled "Under the Heel of Merkel" -- said that "Germany has not changed in the past 70 years" and claimed that "1945 taught them nothing."
"They have taken off their masks and it really is the case that the Berlin of 2012 is in no way different from the Berlin of the 1940s," it said.
Ukraine had hoped that Euro 2012 -- which it is co-hosting with Poland -- would be a showpiece for the country but analysts have said the event risks becoming a fiasco as the government's image goes from bad to worse.
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