Kiev police tighten security ahead of Tymoshenko verdict

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About 100 policemen will ensure public order and security around the Kiev Pechersky District Court on Tuesday when the sentence of ex-Ukrainian Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko is announced.

About 100 policemen will ensure public order and security around the Kiev Pechersky District Court on Tuesday when the sentence of ex-Ukrainian Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko is announced, a local police spokesman said.

Tymoshenko, now Ukraine's leading opposition figure, faces seven years in prison if found guilty of exceeding her authority by signing a contract on Russian gas supplies to Ukraine without approval from her government in January 2009.

Supporters of Tymoshenko are planning to gather 35,000 people in a protest rally near the court on Tuesday.

“If the situation [around the court] deteriorates and there will be more people than announced in the petition [to Kiev authorities], we will increase the number of police officers,” Volodymyr Polishchuk said on Monday.

There are at least 100 policemen in reserve in case of an emergency, he said.

Both supporters and opponents of Tymoshenko have been holding rallies near the Pechersky court ever since the trial began on June 24.

They have set up opposing “tent cities” outside the court building immediately after Tymoshenko’s arrest in the courtroom on August 5.

Police had to cordon off the tents with metal shields to prevent potential clashes.

Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych has faced strong Western criticism over the trial, which Tymoshenko and her supporters have described as "politically motivated."

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