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Tymoshenko Drops Legal Case, But Does Not Concede

Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko speaks during a sitting of the Higher Administrative Court in Kyiv

Ukrainian Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko has dropped her legal case challenging the election of rival Viktor Yanukovych as president -- but she has not conceded defeat, and continues to say that Yanukovych was not legitimately elected.

Tymoshenko, who has alleged vote-rigging by Yanukovych's side, withdrew her legal appeal on February 20, saying Ukraine's courts could not be trusted to reach a fair verdict.

Tymoshenko has been resisting calls by Yanukovych to step down as prime minister, and reports say she is expected to try to stay on as prime minister after Yanukovych is inaugurated as president on February 25. Removing and appointing a prime minister is the job of the Ukrainian parliament.

Outgoing President Viktor Yushchenko, Tymoshenko's former ally in the Orange Revolution of 2004, has congratulated Yanukovych on his election and urged him to work to repair the country's divisions.

Official results have shown Tymoshenko losing the February 7 runoff to Yanukovych by 3.5 percentage points -- a result she says was caused by falsified or miscounted votes. International observers have called the election free and fair, and Western leaders, including U.S. President Barack Obama, have congratulated Yanukovych.

The Kremlin said Yanukovych, who is expected to move Ukraine closer to Russia, will visit Moscow in the first 10 days of March. In a statement, the Kremlin said Russian President Dmitry Medvedev had held a telephone conversation with Yanukovych and congratulated him on his victory.

compiled from agency reports