Yulia Tymoshenko was the heroine of the 2004 pro-Western Orange Revolution in Ukraine. But, as DPA notes, the two-time former prime minister was convicted in 2011 of abuse of power in connection with a gas deal with Russia (detailed below).
This morning she was freed from prison in Kharkiv in eastern Ukraine after parliament voted for her release…
- *TYMOSHENKO LEAVES HOSPITAL WHERE SHE WAS UNDER GUARD: WEBSITE
- *UKRAINE’S TYMOSHENKO GOING TO KIEV SQUARE: IFX CITES YATSENYUK
- *UKRAINE’S TYMOSHENKO SAYS SHE WILL RUN FOR PRESIDENT: ITAR TASS
and is set to address the protesters in Independence Square… (full chronology below)
The US is pleased:
- *U.S. PLEDGES TO WORK WITH RUSSIA FOR `DEMOCRATIC’ UKRAINE
- *WHITE HOUSE WELCOMES TYMOSHENKO RELEASE IN UKRAINE
- Lavrov phones Kerry, blames opposition for Ukraine violence
- KERRY VOWS TO PUT PRESSURE ON UKRAINE OPPOSITION – RUSSIAN FOREIGN MINISTRY
- LAVROV TELLS KERRY UKRAINE OPPOSITION CANNOT HONOR AGREEMENT
And ex-ministers are fleeing…
- *UKRAINE EX-INT MIN CAUGHT TRYING TO FLEE BY BORDER SERVICE: IFX
- *UKRAINE BORDER SERVICE SAYS CAUGHT MINISTER ZAKHARCHENKO: IFX
Live Feed from the square:
- *TYMOSHENKO URGES PROTESTERS TO STAY IN INDEPENDENCE SQUARE
- *`NOW UKRAINE IS A FREE UKRAINE:’ OPPOSITION LEADER TYMOSHENKO
Asked by crowds gathered at the hospital where she was released about her further plans, Tymoshenko said, “I will run for president,” news agencies reported.
She said she will “make it so that no drop of blood that was spilled will be forgotten.”
Via Deutsche Presse-Agentur,
CHRONOLOGY: Tymoshenko vs Yanukovych
A timeline of the Tymoshenko case:
— March 2010: Tymoshenko resigns after a vote of no confidence in parliament. Deputies accuse her of abuse of power and signing an overpriced deal to buy natural gas from Russia.
— June 2011: She goes on trial in Kiev. Supporters and opponents brawl in the courtroom and on the streets.
— October 2011: The court sentences her to seven years in prison. There is international condemnation of the verdict. The European Union calls off a meeting with Tymoshenko arch-rival President Viktor Yanukovych.
— December 2011: Tymoshenko is moved to a women’s prison in Kharkiv, 450 kilometres east of Kiev.
— February 2012: The opposition leader, complaining of severe back pain, is examined by German and Canadian doctors. They diagnose a slipped disc.
— April 2012: Tymoshenko begins a hunger strike in protest at her treatment by the Kharkiv prison staff.
— May 2012: A planned meeting of European presidents in Yalta is called off after several make clear that they will not be attending because of the Tymoshenko issue.
— June 2012: The Euro 2012 football tournament begins in Poland and Ukraine. Some European Union politicians decline to attend games in Ukraine.
— July 2012: The European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg rules that Ukraine violated the rights of a jailed Tymoshenko ally, former interior minister Yuri Lutsenko, and orders Ukraine to pay damages.
— August 2012: The same European Court hears Tymoshenko’s complaint about her detention and prison conditions.
— January 2013: Tymoshenko is named a suspect in the long-dormant 1996 contract murder case of Ukrainian politician and businessman Yvhen Scherban.
— February 2013: EU leaders give Yanukovych a May deadline to show “tangible progress” on democratic reforms.
— April 2013: Yanukoych pardons Lutsenko, but says it is too early to consider pardoning Timoshenko.
— April 2013: The European Court of Human Rights rules that Tymoshenko’s pre-trial detention was unlawful but rejects her claim that she is being denied adequate health care.
— November 2013: Draft legislation that would have allowed Tymoshenko to leave Ukraine for treatment in Germany fails to get enough votes in parliament. EU politicans had made her release a key demand for an association agreement with Ukraine.
— November 2013 – February 2014 – Yanukovych scraps EU association agreement and takes up closer relations with Russia, triggering massive anti-government demonstrations triggered. In recent violence related to the conflict, at least 77 people – mainly opposition supporters – were killed.
— February 22, 2014: Ukraine’s parliament votes for Tymoshenko’s immediate release. Several hours later, Tymoshenko leaves the prison hospital where she was being treated for back problems headed for Kiev.
CHRONOLOGY: The conflict in Ukraine
Anti-government protests have racked Ukraine since President Viktor Yanukovych decided to put a planned association agreement with the EU on ice.
A chronology follows:
November 21-24, 2013: Kiev puts a planned association agreement with the EU on ice after the failure in parliament of a series of bills that would have allowed jailed former permier Yulia Tymoshenko to get medical treatment abroad. EU politicians had made her release a key demand for the association agreement.
November 24, 2013 Thousands of people demonstrate on Independence Square in Kiev. The opposition demands Yanukovych’s resignation.
December 22, 2013: At one of largest protests in years, half a million people im Kiev call for early elections. An initial meeting between Yanukovych and opposition leader Vitali Klitschko is unsuccessful.
January 17-22, 2014: New legislation curbs the right to demonstrate. 200 people are injured as demonstrators attempt to storm parliament. Klitschko warns of the danger of a civil war. Three people are killed in clashes between demonstrators and police.
January 25-30: Opposition leaders reject Yanukovych’s invitation to join the government. The government and the opposition agree on an amnesty for all demonstrators.
January 28-29: Prime Minister Mykola Azarov tenders his resignation. A day later, Russian President Vladimir Putin puts a planned 15-billion-dollar loan to Ukraine on hold.
February 4-5: EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton holds crisis talks with the government and the opposition in Ukraine.
February 19-21: At least 77 people are killed in several days of clashes between demonstrators and security forces. EU foreign ministers in Brussels agree on economic sanctions.
February 21: The foreign ministers of Germany, France and Poland broker an agreement between the Ukrainian government and the opposition calling for an interim government, a return to the 2004 constitution and early elections by December. Demonstrators on Independence Square continue to call for Yanukovych’s ouster. February 22: Yanukovych’s heads to Kharkiv in eastern Ukraine. Parliament in Kiev votes for the release of jailed former prime minister Yulia Tymoshenko and the impeachment of Yanukovych. In a televised address, the president refuses to step down. Tymoshenko leaves the prison hospital in Kharkiv where she was being treated for back problems and heads for Kiev.
Her release, however, hardly guarantees any stability:
As Martin Armstrong warns:
I believe the nation will survive divided for there is far too much resentment to simply put this all behind and walk forward. Divide Ukraine along the historical language faultline and there is a chance to calm things down. Otherwise, this will flare up and take others with it.
My position is consistent – ALL governments are only a necessary evil. They should never be allowed to have such power over the people for it will also be abused to sustain that same power. It does not matter what form of government – they are all the same.