Jailed opposition leader Yulia Tymoshenko is calling on Ukrainians to vote against the party of President Viktor Yanukovych in weekend parliamentary elections.
She warned if the Party of the Regions wins on October 28, Yanukovych will establish a "dictatorship" in Ukraine, which Tymoshenko warned would isolate the Eastern European country.
Tymoshenko's appeal to Ukrainian voters was read out by her daughter, Yevhenia Tymoshenko.
"In this election, each of you will vote for your own survival. This is a fight for Ukraine's existence and the Ukrainian idea. In the end it will determine who this country will belong to -- its land, its state monopolies, its resources, its budget, and other capacities and resources -- to you, or to the five clans that rule you today."
Tymoshenko, a former prime minister, is serving a seven-year jail sentence for abuse of office, which the United States and the European Union have denounced as "selective justice" and see as political vengeance by Yanukovych.
Most analysts expect the Party of the Regions to hold on to its majority in the 450-seat assembly, bolstering the power of Yanukovych who faces reelection as president in 2015.
Tymoshenko's Batkivshchyna, or Fatherland, and a new liberal party headed by heavyweight boxing champion Vitali Klitschko, Udar, or punch, have formed a bloc and should challenge as opinion polls show both enjoying strong support.
In a joint article published on October 24 by "The New York Times," U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and EU foreign-policy chief Catherine Ashton said the West was concerned at Tymoshenko's continued imprisonment, and at reports that state resources were being used to promote Party of Regions candidates.
The election will be monitored by about 3,800 international observers and some 240,000 local observers.
With reporting by AFP and Reuters