Oleksander Tymoshenko, 51, who was granted political asylum in the Czech Republic on Jan. 6, said in a statement that by fleeing abroad he had deprived Yanukovych of additional leverage over the opposition.
"The regime in Ukraine has not shied away from using dirty methods. They were not able to break Yulia Tymoshenko either through intimidation, the courts, imprisonment or torture. So they resorted to even uglier means. They began to persecute me and other members of her family," he said.
"I do not want to provide Yanukovych with any additional leverage against the opposition and for me political asylum is the only way to achieve this goal."