The verdict in the ‘abuse-of-office’ trial of former Ukrainian prime minister Yulia Tymoshenko is due today. Prosecuters are pushing for a seven-year sentence if found guilty.
Tymoshenko is accused of exceeding her powers by ordering state energy firm Naftogaz to sign a 2009 gas deal with Russia’s Gazprom.
The trial has split Ukrainian society.
Analyst Vitali Bala said: “For me the Russian government is saying , if you want to put Tymoshenko in jail, do it. But not because of the gas deal, as this would imply it’s illegitimate and this would not be in Russian interests.”
Thousands of Tymoshenko supporters are gathering outside the court to hear the verdict. They say there are no legal grounds to convict her.
Euronews’ reporter Sergio Cantone said: “According to many observers, this crucial verdict could influence the future of political alliances within the country. And of course, a ruling against Ukraine’s Tymoshenko could hamper prospects of developing connections with the European Union.”