Andrew Osborn








Yulia Tymoshenko ordered to remain in Kiev over investigation, 15th December 2010 20:11


Ukraine's former prime minister Yulia Tymoshenko has been told she cannot leave Kiev due to a criminal investigation for misusing public funds during her time in office.

Mrs Tymoshenko, who is now the de facto leader of the country's embattled opposition movement, said the investigation was as part of "a political witch-hunt" against her.

She said the charges against her are revenge for her criticism of the current government and Ukraine's Kremlin-friendly president Viktor Yanukovych.

"The authorities continue to systematically terrorise the opposition without any respect for the law," she complained.

"I just learned from the investigator that criminal charges have been filed against me personally for allegedly spending environmental funds on pensions during the (financial) crisis." She has previously claimed that the funds she is accused of spending incorrectly were never even accessed.

Mrs Tymoshenko, 50, was a central figure in Ukraine's 2004 pro-Western orange revolution but later became bogged down with political infighting after spectacularly falling out with former president Viktor Yushchenko.

She narrowly lost a presidential election in February to Mr Yanukovych, who has since lost little time in moving his strategically important country much closer to Russia. In an interview with The Daily Telegraph in October she accused the West of ignoring a Russian takeover of her country which hosts a pipeline network which is vital for Europe's energy security.