A Ukrainian opposition coalition responded to Tuesday's conviction of former Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko with an appeal for mass-scale action against "the organized crime group that is in power in Ukraine."
"Today the organized crime group that is in power in Ukraine has committed a grave crime. Brazenly, defiantly and without any legal reasons, the ruling regime has passed an illegal 'sentence' on the opposition leader Yulia Tymoshenko," the Dictatorship Resistance Committee said in a statement.
Kyiv's Pechersky District Court declared Tymoshenko to be guilty of exceeding her powers by negotiating 2009 natural gas agreements with Russia that are allegedly damaging to Ukraine, and sentenced her to seven years of jail and a huge fine.
"The disgraceful show at the Pechersky District Court that the government and the shapeshifter in the gown have been putting up for three and a half months has finished with the regime perpetrating a cynical outrage against a political opponent," it said.
"The disgraceful sentence on Yulia Tymoshenko is in effect a sentence on [President Viktor] Yanukovych & Co. themselves. There is no room for them in the civilized world any longer," the statement said.
"Fellow Countrymen and Countrywomen! Today each Ukrainian citizen is being deprived of the right to free speech and to independent thought, today not just Yulia Tymoshenko but each of us is having our freedom taken away from us. But this must not intimidate us, or sow disappointment or apathy. We must unify, stand our ground, and win. The brutal offensive of the Yanukovych regime must come up against civil resistance from the entire Ukrainian society. This government has no future, it must go!" the Committee said.
The Committee brings together parties including Batkivschyna, the group led by Tymoshenko, the European Party, the Party of Fatherland Defenders, People's Self-Defense, Reforms and Order, Civil Position, Our Ukraine, Rukh (People's Movement), and Front for Change.