KIEV, January 21 (RIA Novosti) - Three opposition activists chained themselves to the railings around the Ukrainian presidential administration building in Kiev on Monday, demanding the release of jailed former Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko and former Interior Minister Yuriy Lutsenko.
Several dozen activists stood outside the building, chanting “Freedom to the political prisoner!”
On Friday, Ukraine’s Prosecutor General said Tymoshenko is now an official suspect in the 1996 killing of Ukrainian businessman and lawmaker Yevhen Shcherban. She faces life in prison if convicted.
Shcherban, a Supreme Rada (parliament) lawmaker who also headed Ukraine’s Aton financial corporation, was shot dead along with his wife at an airport in eastern Ukraine in November 1996.
Tymoshenko, who is currently serving a seven-year jail term for abusing her authority by signing a 2009 gas deal with Russia, was officially notified of being a suspect in the case.
Lutsenko, 47, Tymoshenko’s close ally, was sentenced to two years in prison in mid-August over illegal surveillance as part of an investigation into the poisoning of then presidential hopeful Viktor Yushchenko in 2004.
Ukraine's opposition claims the trials against Tymoshenko and Lutsenko are part of a crackdown against the political opponents of President Viktor Yanukovych, although he denies any involvement.
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We have witnessed the total defeat of western Ukraine, Western nationalists and the West in general, which made the unfortunate decision to support the anti-government activity. They failed to realize that the collapse of Yanukovych means the collapse of Ukrainian unity. They set fire to their own home and planted a time bomb under Ukraine’s territorial integrity.