For the last two months, former Ukrainian President Yulia Tymoshenko has been on trial on charges of “abuse of office” for allegedly forcing the country’s state gas company, Naftogaz, to sign illegal deals with Russia.
Today the New York Times reports that she has been sentenced to seven years in prison.
Western powers, namely the European Union, Russia, and the United States, were calling on Ukranian officials to end the trial and release Tymoshenko. They considered the charges politically motivated, and Russia maintained fierce denial that Tymoshenko had initiated any illegal dealings between Moscow and Naftogaz.
The trial, however, continued, and likely to the Ukraine’s detriment. This verdict could be an especially horrible mistake for Ukranian President Viktor Yanukovich. He beat Tymosheko in the country’s presidential election in 2010, and since then, has said that he wants to make his relationship with the West a top priority in his administration. He even made Brussels his first state visit.
Naturally, this will do little to warm relations. After the verdict, the EU council tweeted that it was “deeply disappointed” with the verdict.
They weren’t the only ones. Hundreds of protesters gathered outside the courtroom to hear what would happen to the woman once named “the most beautiful politician in the world.” And her supporters, including Nikolai Tomenko, the Ukrainian parliament’s vice speaker have vowed to take her case to the European Court of Human Rights.
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