Allies of Ukraine ex-PM Tymoshenko pardoned and released from jail

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Allies of Ukraine ex-PM Tymoshenko pardoned and released from jail

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Former interior minister and opposition figure Yuri Lutsenko has been released from prison after receiving a pardon from Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovich.

Former ecology minister Heorhiy Filipchuk was also pardoned and released from prison.

Both men are close to jailed ex-prime minister Yulia Tymoshenko.

Leaving prison in the Chernihiv region north of Kiev, Lutsenko said: “I want to meet with Yulia Tymoshenko as soon as I have the opportunity. This is really important for me. I supported her in the police truck, and in jail. And I’ll support her in our common fight.”

Lutsenko had been serving a four year sentence for abuse of office.

A protest against local administration in the capital Kiev provided another chance for the opposition to call for the national government to resign.

Opposition leaders at the rally urged Lutsenko to return to politics.

“I’m sure after Yuriy Lutsenko’s release the opposition will gain more strength, because this is a serious boost. And I believe Yuriy will get back to the political life as soon as he can,” said Arseniy Yatsenuyk from Tymoshenko’s Batkivschyna party.

Some say Yanukovich released the opposition figures to appease Western critics. However, the President shows no sign of letting Tymoshenko out of jail where she is serving seven years for abuse of power.