MOSCOW, September 17 (RIA Novosti)
- Ukrainian Court Rejects Tymoshenko’s Appeal
- Ukraine Puts Tymoshenko Release at $7bln
- Tymoshenko Says ‘No’ to Video Linkup with U.S. Court
- Ukrainian Prosecutors to charge Tymoshenko on Aiding Murder
A former Ukrainian security officer has claimed to possess a covertly recorded tape implicating jailed former Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko in the 1996 murder of prominent politician Yevhen Shcherban, Kommersant Ukraina reported on Monday.
The tapes, allegedly recorded in the offices of former Ukrainian President Leonid Kuchma, suggest that Tymoshenko paid for the murder, Mykola Melnychenko told a news conference in Washington last week.
Melnychenko said he is willing to hand the tapes over to prosecutors.
Tymoshenko has dismissed any link with the murder.
The heroine of Ukraine's West-leaning 2004 Orange revolution was jailed for seven years in October last year for overstepping her authority as prime minister in signing a 2009 gas deal with Russia, in what she described as a case of political persecution.
Former Prime Minister Pavlo Lazarenko, who is named in the tapes as organizer of the killing, has previously said he had "nothing to do with that crime."
Shcherban, a powerful businessman, was shot dead with his wife at an airport in eastern Ukraine.
Melnychenko also said that while in Prague his summer he was approached by Tymoshenko's relatives, who asked him to level his accusations against Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych, Tymoshenko's arch foe.
Tymoshenko's Batkyvshchyna party has said "Melnychenko's statement regarding the murder of Yevhen Shcherban was prepared on the orders of the presidential administration."
Melnychenko, who is wanted by Ukrainian authorities, had earlier released tapes which allegedly implicated Kuchma in the killing of an investigative journalist in 2000, a charge that the former president was cleared of in January this year.
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The main event of the third day of the 11th meeting of the Valdai International Discussion Club in Sochi was the closing session with President Vladimir Putin. The atmosphere was calm and open, despite the current political tensions and the Russia-West confrontation. The Russian president said that it corresponded to the spirit of the Valdai Club.