Masked and armed agents from the security services this week launched raids at a series of companies connected with a leading tycoon linked to former Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko.

The raids at tire producer Rosava, Finance & Credit bank and pharmaceutical company Arterium, among other companies – all owned by businessman Kostyantyn Zhevago – sparks concerns that President Viktor Yanukovych and his allies are increasingly seeking to assert their authority across the Ukraine’s political and economic life.

The ongoing trial of Tymoshenko on charges of abuse of power and probes into a dozen of her political allies are politically motivated attempts to squeeze the president’s main opponent out of the running in future parliamentary and presidential elections.

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