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05 March 2024

Parliament rejects move to free Tymoshenko


Ukraine's parliament on Wednesday rejected two bills aimed at securing the release of former prime minister Yulia Tymoshenko, sentenced in October to seven years in jail for abuse of power.

Tymoshenko supporters managed to rally just 155 and 157 members of parliament to vote for two bills to change the law and abolish prison terms for abuse of power. They needed a majority of at least 226.

The vote took place as Polish Foreign Minister Radoslaw Sikorski, on a visit to Kiev, spoke of the European Union's "growing mistrust" of Ukraine because of the Tymoshenko trial.

Tymoshenko claims her trial was a political prosecution ordered by her rival President Viktor Yanukovych, now president, to remove her from the political scene.

She was condemned for signing a series of gas deals with Russia in 2009, when she was prime minister, considered unfavourable to her country.