Timoshenko’s culpability in gas case is proven – prosecutor

KIEV, September 2 (Itar-Tass) —— Detectives have proven the culpability of ex-Ukrainian Prime Minister, Batkivshchyna party leader Yulia Timoshenko in the gas case, Ukrainian Prosecutor General Viktor Pshonka told a Friday press briefing in Donetsk.

“I have no right to comment on new facts in the Yulia Timoshenko case, because the court is still considering them. Yet I can state that detectives have proven the culpability of Yulia Vladimirovna,” he said.

“The court found confirmation to the evidence collected by detectives. The detectives supplied a sufficient amount of materials for the court to decide whether Timoshenko is guilty or not,” Pshonka said.

Anyway, the court will bring this case to the end, he noted.

The Kiev Pechersky District Court repeatedly rejected the appeals for releasing Timoshenko from custody.

Timoshenko is accused of the illegal signing of gas contracts with Russia in 2009. The Prosecutor General’s Office said that Timoshenko abused of office and caused more than 1.5 billion hryvni (about $200 million) damage to Ukraine.

Ukraine cannot secede from gas agreements with Russia signed by Yulia Timoshenko, Ukrainian Prime Minister Nikolai Azarov told the court, as he was giving testimony in the Timoshenko case.

“When I read that agreement I could not believe it had been approved by the government. The terms of that document make unilateral secession practically impossible,” he said.

The penalty for taking less gas than contracted “is harmful for the national economy,” and the pricing formula set for the period of ten years is unprofitable, Azarov said.

“The agreement betrayed the country and caused an increase of public utility charges,” he concluded.

The Russia-Ukraine gas deal 2009 strictly complies with national laws, the Russian Foreign Ministry said immediately after the arrest of Timoshenko.

“Bearing in mind the decision of the Kiev Pechersky District Court to arrest Yulia Timoshenko who is accused by the Ukrainian Prosecutor General’s Office of exceeding her authority in the signing of contracts on Russian gas supply in 2009, the Russian Foreign Ministry states the following: all the gas agreements of 2009 were signed in strict compliance with the national laws of both states and international laws and their signing was preceded by instructions from the presidents of Russia and Ukraine,” the ministry said.

The trial of Timoshenko “must be fair and unbiased, meet every provision of Ukrainian laws and provide appropriate defense and compliance with elementary humanitarian norms and rules,” the ministry said.

Prosecutor Lilia Frolova insisted on the arrest of Timoshenko. She said the defendant was impeding court procedures.

“The judge said many times that it was necessary for the defendant to abide by the court procedures. She did not react to criticism but abused her rights and verbally insulted parties to the trial and the presiding judge. That is a ground for incarceration,” the prosecutor said.

The court considered a similar demand of the prosecutor on July 27 but said it was still possible to change the behavior of Timoshenko.

The suspect was taken to the Lukyanovskoye detention center.

President Yanukovich has nothing to do with the arrest of Timoshenko and does not interfere in the activity of the judiciary, presidential press secretary Darya Chepak said a week ago.

“The president said many times that his administration had nothing to do with the [Timoshenko] trial and had no right to interfere in the activity of the judiciary by constitution,” she said.

Following the arrest of its leader, the Batkivshchyna party called for mass protests. “We are starting mobilization,” the party’s second in command Alexander Turchinov said.

If the protests turn massive, Ukraine may have new authorities already in September, he said. “We have plenty of sympathizers, but few are prepared to fight. We start our fight today,” he added.

Many public figures, clerics, academicians and artists asked the court to release Timoshenko from custody on their guarantee. Yet their appeals were not met.


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