Russia says Tymoshenko gas contracts were legal
Russia on Friday called the gas contract it signed with Ukraine in 2009 legal and urged its neighbour to conduct a fair trial of ex-prime minister Yulia Tymoshenko over her role in the disputed deal.
"All the 2009 gas agreements were concluded in strict accordance with the national legislation of the two states ... and were signed with the required authorisation of the presidents of Russia and Ukraine," the foreign ministry said in a statement.
Russia called for a "fair and impartial" trial of Tymoshenko.
One of the leaders of the 2004 Orange Revolution, as prime minister she signed a 10-year gas deal with Moscow in January 2009, ending what had been a brief interruption of supplies to Western Europe.
Ukrainian prosecutors have accused Tymoshenko of having paid too high a price, costing the state some 1.5 billion hryvnias (134, million euros, $190 million).
Tymoshenko was placed under arrest for contempt of court on Friday in a dramatic twist to her trial. If she is found guilty, she could be jailed for up to a decade.
© 2011 AFP