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U.S. Lawmaker Criticizes Ukraine Over Tymoshenko Case

U.S. Representative Christopher Smith
WASHINGTON -- The imprisonment of former Ukrainian Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko and Interior Minister Yuriy Lutsenko is casting a shadow over Ukraine's upcoming parliamentary elections, says U.S. Representative Christopher Smith.

Presiding over a briefing on Ukraine’s October elections, Smith (Republican-New Jersey) said that Kyiv's general democratic backsliding does not bode well for the upcoming poll.

“Unless Tymoshenko, Lutsenko, and other imprisoned former officials are released, these elections will, by the fact of their imprisonment, be tainted," said Smith, the chairman of the U.S. Helsinki Commission.

Smith called the imprisonment of leading opposition figures in Ukraine outrageous and said that it will make it impossible for the international community to assess the autumn elections as having met international, democratic standards.

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