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You're reading: After verdict, Ukraine has stark East-West choice
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Twenty years after Ukraine gained independence from the Soviet Union, does he end the experiment with democracy and send opposition politicians like Yulia Tymoshenko to languish in jail, or does he embrace Western values and allow political competition and the rule of law to thrive?

Freeing Tymoshenko, a possibility raised by the president himself, would speed up Ukraine’s integration with the European Union, which harshly condemned Tuesday’s verdict.

But deepening ties with Europe would likely lead to economic hardships as an angry Russia would refuse to sell its natural gas at a discount, leaving Yanukovych with millions of impoverished Ukrainians squeezed by higher gas bills ahead of elections next year.

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