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Tymoshenko Dismisses Yanukovych Statement

Former Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko announces plans to run for president at a press conference in Kyiv on March 27.
Former Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko announces plans to run for president at a press conference in Kyiv on March 27.
Ukrainian presidential candidate and former Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko reacted to a statement from former President Viktor Yanukovych about the need to hold a referendum on the status of every region in Ukraine.

Tymoshenko said late on March 28 that if the statement from earlier in the day did indeed come from Yanukovych, it was evidence he has become an "instrument of the fight against Ukraine, against the Ukrainian people."

Tymoshenko said Yanukovych would be held "criminally responsible" for his calls for separatism, deployment of troops into Ukraine, toppling the legitimate government, and other offenses.

In the statement, Yanukovych called for the referendum and also called the current authorities in Ukraine unconstitutional, saying the situation amounted to "anarchy."

He also asked the Party of Regions to remove him as honorary chairman and to cancel his membership in the party.

Meanwhile, a delegation from the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) has discussed Ukraine's upcoming presidential election with acting President Oleksandr Turchynov on March 28.

Joao Soares, a lawmaker from Portugal who is serving as special coordinator of the OSCE's short-term mission, led the delegation in talks with Turchynov.

Soares said Turchynov and other Ukrainian government officials assured the OSCE delegation they would do their "utmost to conduct a free and democratic electoral process."

Soares told the Ukrainian officials a "clean election" would be the most powerful response Ukraine could offer to the current crisis.

Ukraine is due to hold its presidential election on May 25.

An OSCE statement said OSCE parliament members plan to make several more preelection visits to Ukraine.

"The OSCE monitoring mission for the vote is expected to be one of the largest in the organization's history," it added.
Based on reporting by ITAR-TASS, Reuters, and RFE/RL

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