Tymoshenko asks for EU help against Ukraine's 'dictator'
(WARSAW) - Ukraine's jailed ex-premier Yulia Tymoshenko urged European powers to help free her country from its "dictator" President Viktor Yanukovych, speaking in an interview published Monday.
Tymoshenko, whose incarceration is seen by most Western powers as politically motivated, said the Ukrainian opposition and European nations must act now, ahead of October 28 general elections.
"We must begin to act not after the elections but before," Tymoshenko was quoted as saying by her lawyers, speaking with the Polish edition of Newsweek magazine.
"After the elections, it will be too late," said Tymoshenko, who is serving seven years for abuse of power charges following a conviction last year.
"Without support from the European community, we have negligible chances of success. Besides, we should ask the world not to back the dictator and pretend to believe he is reforming the country."
Tymoshenko also said the election campaign in Ukraine was already flawed.
"The judiciary, the election commissions, leading media under the regime's remote control, the police and government authorities are humiliating the people" and any non-compliant politicians, she said.
"Some day I will get well. For the moment, I'm thinking about ways to free Ukraine from dictatorship," Tymoshenko said, adding that Yanukovych's "political death" was only a matter of time.
The former premier also said she was worried Ukraine might split some day and lose its sovereignty but added: "This fear gives me strength."
The case against Tymoshenko was launched shortly after Yanukovych narrowly beat her in a bitter 2010 ballot.
Tymoshenko -- who was backed by Ukrainian nationalists who seek closer EU ties -- initially refused to accept the outcome of the vote.
On Wednesday, Ukraine's highest appeals authority upheld her conviction on charges that she had no authority to sign a controversial gas deal with Russia in 2009.
The latest ruling upset the European Union, the Council of Europe and the United States.
But the rejection also clears the way for Tymoshenko to take her full case to the European Court of Human Rights -- a move her defence had been prevented from making by months of judicial delays.
EU negotiators have made the release of Tymoshenko and her other jailed allies a condition for Ukraine to receive preliminary backing for its eventual membership in the 27-nation European Union.
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