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Russia puts ex-Ukrainian prime minister on wanted list

Yulia Timoshenko, who played a major role in the ‘Orange Revolution’ in the early 2000s, is charged with an undisclosed crime

Former Ukrainian Prime Minister Yulia Timoshenko is now listed as a wanted person in Russia, according to the Interior Ministry’s database. She currently leads the opposition Fatherland (Batkivshchyna) party in the parliament.

The bulletin on the 63-year-old veteran Ukrainian politician, who has run for president three times, entered the media spotlight on Friday, though it only said that Timoshenko “is wanted under an article of the Criminal Code,” without providing further details.

Timoshenko served as the country’s prime minister for several months in 2005 after co-leading a series of protests known as the ‘Orange Revolution’, sparked by the disputed results of the 2004 presidential election. The upheaval resulted in the victory of Viktor Yushchenko, a NATO- and Western-leaning presidential candidate.

She once again led the government from 2007 to 2010. After the victory of Viktor Yanukovich – a proponent of maintaining friendly ties with Russia – in the 2010 presidential election, Timoshenko was accused of committing several crimes involving corruption and abuse of power while concluding gas delivery contracts with Moscow.

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In 2011, Timoshenko was sentenced to seven years in prison on the latter charge, but was released as a result of the 2014 Western-backed Maidan coup. She now leads the opposition Fatherland party, which has 24 seats in parliament.

The former prime minister has on numerous occasions criticized Vladimir Zelensky for amassing too much power in his hands, and has also denounced the recent legislation to tighten the mobilization regulations.

In late 2023, she urged Zelensky to come up with a ‘plan B’ to extricate Ukraine from what she called a “difficult and pretty tragic situation,” referring to the conflict with Russia, but without giving any specific suggestions. In 2022, however, Zelensky signed a decree banning all talks with the current leadership in Moscow after four former Ukrainian regions overwhelmingly voted in referendums to join Russia.

Russia has placed numerous Ukrainian officials on the wanted list, saying it will not let Kiev’s war crimes, including attacks on civilians, go unpunished. In May, the Russian Interior Ministry placed Zelensky and former Ukrainian President Pyotr Poroshenko on the wanted list, though their bulletins were later removed from a publicly available database.

June 08, 2024 at 03:36PM

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