Russia notes 'anti-Russian subtext' to Tymoshenko case

11th October 2011, Comments 0 comments

Russia said Tuesday it saw a "clear anti-Russian subtext" to the trial of Ukraine's former prime minister Yulia Tymoshenko on abuse of power charges linked to a 2009 Russian gas deal.

"We cannot but note a clear anti-Russian subtext to this entire story," the foreign ministry said in a statement.

"In essence, Y.V. Tymoshenko was put on trial for a current and binding agreement between Gazprom and Naftogaz Ukraine that was never annulled by anyone," the foreign ministry said.

Tymoshenko was convicted on Tuesday and jailed for seven years for exceeding her authority while signing the deal in a bid to end a price dispute that led to a three-week disruption of supplies to Ukraine and some EU states.

The 10-year agreement gradually raised the price Ukraine pays for its gas from the subsidies rates the ex-Soviet republic enjoyed throughout more of the previous two decades.

The new agreement proved deeply unpopular in Ukraine because it came during a severe economic downturn that followed the 2008 global financial collapse.

Tymoshenko assisted in the signing of the final agreement with her Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin and Moscow has always insisted that the trial should in no way reflect on the gas deal itself.

The ministry statement remarked that "leaders of many countries and the world community (as a whole) see this entire court process as one initiated exclusively for political reasons."

The Kiev court "ignored convincing evidence that these gas agreements were executed in strict accordance with the laws of Russia and Ukraine," the Russian ministry said.

The trial coincided with recent efforts by Ukraine to change the terms of the 2009 contracts and an attempt by Russia to win greater control of its neighbour's pipeline network to Europe.

© 2011 AFP

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