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Ukraine stalls decision on Tymoshenko release

Under pressure from EU to release former PM or face exclusion from bloc, legislators say will take vote by end of week.

Last updated: 19 Nov 2013 11:54
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Supporters of jailed former prime minister scattered leaflets calling for her release [Reuters]

The Ukrainian parliament has again stalled a vote on the release of jailed ex-Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko, demanded by the European Union as a key condition for signing a landmark integration deal with the country.

Parliament speaker Volodymyr Rybak told legislators on Tuesday that the bill would not be put to a vote during the morning session. The opposition kept pushing for a vote either on Tuesday or Thursday.

Tymoshenko, a top rival of President Viktor Yanukovych, is serving a seven-year prison sentence on charges the West calls political. The EU is refusing to sign the association agreement with Ukraine if Tymoshenko remains in jail.

As a compromise, the EU has asked Ukraine's parliament, dominated by Yanukovych allies, to pass a law allowing Tymoshenko's release for a medical treatment in Germany.

EU envoys are attending the parliamentary session, but with the delay, it is possible that no firm decision either way on Tymoshenko, internationally renowned as the braided-haired co-leader of Ukraine's Orange Revolution protests against electoral fraud nine years ago, will emerge until the end of the week.

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