KIEV, November 23 (RIA Novosti) – Jailed Ukrainian opposition leader Yulia Tymoshenko called on the government Friday to review its decision to suspend a landmark trade deal with the European Union.
In a letter posted on her Fatherland political party’s website, Tymoshenko said she “simply wanted to kill” President Viktor Yanukovych when she learned about the Cabinet’s decision on Thursday to halt plans to sign an association agreement and a free trade deal at an EU summit in Vilnius next week.
In an announcement that stunned Europe, the Ukrainian government announced it would seek closer cooperation with Russia and the Moscow-led Customs Union trade bloc that also comprises Belarus and Kazakhstan.
Hundreds of protesters gathered in downtown Kiev hours after the announcement.
A top aide to Lithuania’s president said Friday Yanukovych admitted Kiev backed off from signing the deals with the EU under pressure from Russia. Russia has denied that it threatened Ukraine, and instead leveled similar charges at the EU.
“Frankly speaking, yesterday, after the government’s decision to reject an agreement with the EU, I simply wanted to kill you,” Tymoshenko wrote in her letter to Yanukovych. “I think some 70 percent of the people overseen by you felt the same. Forgive us all these spontaneous emotions … but now we need not to run into aggression but save the situation by all means. You are the only person who can do it.”
Ukraine’s parliament had earlier Thursday rejected draft laws aimed at allowing Tymoshenko to seek medical treatment abroad, which EU officials had stipulated as a condition for the agreements with Kiev to go ahead.
Tymoshenko was in 2011 sentenced to seven years in jail for abusing of her power while serving as prime minister by overseeing a gas contract with Russia determined to be financially unfavorable for Ukraine.
She insists the charges were politically motivated.
A new case against Tymoshenko on charges of abuse of office at the Ukrainian Unified Energy Systems Corporation, which she headed in the 1990s, has been pending in a Kiev court since April 2012. Hearings have been continuously postponed due to Tymoshenko’s chronic back problems.
She has also been accused of organizing the murder of a local politician in 1996.