Tymoshenko’s party says SBU tried to raid its headquarters, the security agency denies the claim

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Feb. 18, 2011 12:13
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The elite Alfa unit of the SBU was used in a raid against state gas company Naftogaz Ukraine in 2009, when Yulia Tymoshenko was prime minister. Back then, her opponents in government tried to block her plans for Naftogaz to acquire 11 billion cubic meters of disputed gas that had earlier belonged to RosUkrEnergo. The Swiss-registered gas trader is co-owned by businessmen close to current President Viktor Yanukovych.
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Backed by armed guards, Ukrainian law enforcement authorities appeared at the central party offices in Kyiv of opposition leader Yulia Tymoshenko, supposedly to conduct a raid in connection with an investigation.
A source at Tymoshenko’s Batkivshchyna party headquarters on Turivska street in Kyiv's Podil district said officials from the SBU state security service had arrived at the building early on Feb. 18 and had tried to enter.

The source said: “Our Internet service is down for some unexplained reason. According to our information, they want to seize our computer servers.”

Upon arriving on the scene, a Kyiv Post photographer and journalists saw no SBU officials, but were told by Tymoshenko allies that they had already left after failing to enter the building.

Minutes earlier, Tymoshenko allies in parliament left the legislature to go and protect their party headquarters from what they describe as the latest episode of political oppression from the side of President Viktor Yanukovych’s administration.

“Our [parliament] faction has just received information that there is a provocation being conducted at our party office from the side of the SBU,” said Andriy Kozhemyakin, a Tymoshenko allied lawmaker.

“We are leaving the legislature and heading to Turivska Street,” he added.

Meanwhile, the press service at the SBU denied the security agency had attempted to raid Tymoshenko's party headquarters.

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