The seven-year prison term meted out to TYmoshenko has been
condemned as political persecution by Western leaders and
stopped important Ukrainian agreements with the EU on political
association and a free-trade zone dead in their tracks.
Yanukovych made his remarks in a speech marking Independence
Day that also drew several thousand opposition supporters onto
the streets of the capital in protest at his government’s
economic policies and Tymoshenko’s imprisonment.
Yanukovych, midway through a five-year term in power in the
former Soviet republic, said in a keynote address to government
and church officials that his leadership was committed to
joining the European mainstream.