No Asylum Plans, Says Yulia Tymoshenko

KIEV, Ukraine -- There are no plans to flee Ukraine to avoid prosecution by the government of President Viktor Yanukovych, said former Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko.

Yulia Tymoshenko

Tymoshenko is facing charges she misused federal funds to pay state pensions during her previous tenure as prime minister.

She denies the charges and blames Yanukovych, a political rival, of launching a smear campaign against her opposition movement.

Tymoshenko announced on her Web site that she plans to ask investigators for permission to travel to Brussels in February.

"I am confident that I will go to Brussels in order to cooperate with our colleagues in the European Union and to make sure that Ukraine isn't crossed off the list of countries with prospects of a European future," she said in a statement.

She said, however, that she has no plans to evade prosecutors by seeking political asylum in another country.

Yanukovych, she said, would never see the day when his political rivals fled the country. Tymoshenko noted that it was her opponents who fled in the wake of the Orange Revolution in 2004.

"The time will come when they will be running away because today they are committing real crimes," she said.

Source: UPI