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Interpol Lifts Warrant On Ukrainian Oppositionist


Opposition leader Yuliya Tymoshenko (file photo) 8 December 2004 -- Interpol has reportedly asked Russian prosecutors for additional information on the fraud case against senior Ukrainian opposition politician Yuliya Tymoshenko even as that international police organization has removed a warrant for her arrest from its official website, Russian and international media reported today.

Tymoshenko, 44, has played a prominent role in the ongoing dispute over Ukraine's fraudulent presidential election on 21 November and is widely regarded as a possible senior appointee if the opposition eventually wrests control of government.

A repeat of the flawed presidential runoff between opposition leader Viktor Yushchenko and administration-backed Prime Minister Viktor Yanukovych is tentatively slated for 26 December, although political differences have so far blocked a deal to end the current stalemate.

A former chief of the Unified Energy Systems of Ukraine gas company, Tymoshenko later became deputy prime minister in a Yushchenko cabinet and was responsible for energy reforms before being accused of tax evasion.

She was jailed for six weeks during the official investigation and joined the political opposition to Ukrainian President Leonid Kuchma after her release.

Russia issued a warrant for Tymoshenko's arrest on suspicion of fraud in connection with allegations that she bribed high-ranking Russian military officials.

Tymoshenko has emerged as a key opposition leader during the current political crisis, frequently addressing crowds of opposition demonstrators in the capital Kyiv with fiery rhetoric.

ITAR-TASS and dpa reported that Interpol temporarily removed the warrant for Yuliya Tymoshenko's arrest from its official website (http://www.interpol.org) pending further information.

A warrant for her husband, Oleksandr Tymoshenko, remains in force, according to the Interpol website.

(ITAR-TASS/dpa)

[For more on the current political crisis in Ukraine, see RFE/RL's dedicated "Ukraine's Disputed Election" website.]
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