Tymoshenko urges Western sanctions on Ukraine leader, family

5th December 2013, Comments 0 comments

Jailed opposition leader Yulia Tymoshenko on Thursday called on the West to impose sanctions against Ukrainian President Vladimir Yanukovych and his family amid the nation's worst political crisis in a decade.

"Targeted sanctions against him and his family are the only language he understands," the former prime minister was quoted as saying by her lawyer Sergiy Vlasenko in a message from detention.

Yanukovych's last-minute decision to scrap a key political and trade pact with the European Union and the use of violence against peaceful demonstrators sparked the largest protests in the ex-Soviet nation since the pro-democracy 2004 Orange Revolution.

Former prime minister Tymoshenko, who has launched a hunger strike in solidarity with protesters, was in 2011 sentenced to seven years in jail on abuse of power charges after she lost to Yanukovych in presidential polls in 2010.

Tymoshenko's lawyer Vlasenko said her call was primarily aimed at the United States.

"As far as the European Union is concerned, we are calling for the start of anti-corruption investigations against Yanukovych and his family," Vlasenko told AFP.

"Thanks to corruption schemes they have property and bank accounts in European countries," he added.

Yanukovych has been dogged by allegations of corruption and an excessive penchant for luxury. In recent years a so-called family of influential officials and relatives has grown around him, including Yanukovych's increasingly affluent 40-year-old businessman son Olexander.

According to the Ukrainian edition of Forbes, Olexander Yanukovych is now one of the country's richest men with a fortune of $510 million.

© 2013 AFP

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