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Ukraine keeps ex-PM Tymoshenko in custody

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Ukraine keeps ex-PM Tymoshenko in custody

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Ukraine’s former prime minister is to remain in police custody. Yulia Tymoshenko was detained on Friday during her trial for abuse of office for contempt of court.

The 50-year-old opposition figure has repeatedly refused to cooperate with the judge. But the European Union has joined Washington in criticising her detention. It has also pledged its support over the charge which relates to a gas supply contract with Russia.

Jose Manuel Teixeira, EU Ambassador in Ukraine said: “Recall that the interruption of gas supplies had a very serious impact on several member states. The European Union at the time welcomed the resumption of the supplies that ended the gas crisis in January 2009. That is why this court hearing is very important to us.”

After the judge refused a third request to release her, scuffles broke out as special force officers clashed with Tymoshenko supporters who have vowed to continue their street protests, even though such demonstrations have been deemed illegal.