The trial of former Ukrainian prime minister Yulia Tymoshenko has resumed in Kiev after a two-week break, amid international pressure for the case to end.
Prosecutors show little sign of paying heed: they have asked for a seven-year jail sentence for the ex- leader of the Orange Revolution.
Her supporters again made their presence felt outside the court. They argue the charges of abuse of power are politically motivated.
Tymoshenko was placed in custody in early August for contempt of court.
That has rankled with the EU, which is threatening to scrap planned trade deals and political accords if she is jailed.
“We hope that Ukraine will follow the values of democratic revolution that they did in 2004, and that these values – the rule of law, human rights, a stable market economy – will win in the end,” said Portuguese MEP Mario David. “If you want to share these values, you are most welcome; if you don’t, then we go our separate ways,” he added.
Tymoshenko argues her prosecution is a vendetta by her arch rival, President Yanukovich.
Ukraine’s Prime Minister Mykola Azarov claims Russia has agreed to review the gas deal central to the trial, which the administration says forced Ukraine to pay an exorbitant price for supplies.
But Kiev also wants integration with western Europe. Yet as the Tymoshenko case drags on, commentators say it looks like a PR disaster for Yanukovich and his European ambitions.