U.S.: Trial Of Ex-Ukrainian PM Politically Motivated

WASHINGTON, DC -- The United States has expressed concern over politically-motivated prosecutions of Opposition leaders in Ukraine.

State Department spokesperson Victoria Nuland.

In a statement issued in the wake of the opening of the trial of former Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko, State Department spokesperson Victoria Nuland said when the senior leadership of an Opposition party is the focus of prosecutions, out of proportion with other political figures, it creates the appearance of a political motive.

She urged the Ukrainian government to refrain from actions that create such an appearance and undermine the rule of law in Ukraine.

The United States has warned that it will "closely monitor the legal proceedings against Yulia Tymoshenko and other Opposition figures."

The Pecherskyi District Court of Kiev is set to begin full hearings in the criminal case against her on Wednesday.

Ukraine's prosecution charged Tymoshenko in December on suspicion of having abused her authority in signing gas contracts with Russia in 2009 while she was the country's Prime Minister.

Tymoshenko, who is also the leader of the Batkivschyna All-Ukrainian Association party, said she believed the criminal case accusing her of the embezzlement of funds allocated under the Kyoto Protocol was to prevent her from running in future elections.

Tymoshenko, who led a pro-democracy 'Orange Revolution' in 2004 that subsequently elevated her to power, served as Prime Minister until March 2010.

Tymoshenko's coalition Cabinet failed to survive a no-confidence motion in the Parliament, paving the way for the downfall of her pro-Western government.

It was a double blow for the 50-year-old blonde, who lost to Viktor Yanukovych in the presidential run-off.

Kiev-Moscow relations witnessed a dynamic transformation since then, resulting in close cooperation in the fields of defense and energy.

While Yanukovych says his government is dedicated to eliminating corruption in high office, Tymoshenko alleges that the case is part of political vendetta.

Source: RTT News