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Ukraine Investigates Tymoshenko Over Russian Gas Deal

Former Ukrainian Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko
Ukraine's state prosecutor's office has launched a criminal case against former Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko over a gas deal she reached with Russia in 2009.

First Deputy Prosecutor General Renat Kuzmin said today that a criminal case has been launched against the former prime minister "over abuse of power linked to the signing of gas contracts in 2009."

He was referring to a January 2009 deal between Tymoshenko and Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin on Russian gas supplies.

The agreement ended a standoff that had briefly disrupted Russian gas flows to Europe. It tied the price of gas from Russia's Gazprom to international oil prices.

As a result, Ukraine's gas bill has since been steadily rising.

Yanukovych's government has urged Russia to review the pricing formula but talks have not been successful so far.

Tymoshenko, who stepped down as prime minister after losing the February 2010 presidential election to Viktor Yanukovych, has already been targeted by two separate criminal probes related to the alleged misuse of state funds.

She denies the charges.