Kremlin hints at "long-term consequences" for Kiev over Tymoshenko’s arrest

The arrest of Ukraine’s ex-Prime Minister, Yulia Tymoshenko will spoil Russian-Ukrainian relations and may bring “long-term consequences” to Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych, Russian business daily quoted on Saturday a Kremlin source as saying.

The arrest of Tymoshenko will trigger an international response and turn into the “long-term consequences” for President Yanukovych, the source told Kommersant daily.

Tymoshenko, who was arrested on Friday, is accused of signing a 10-year natural gas import contract with Russia in 2009 that the court said was disadvantageous for the Ukrainian economy and was not approved by the government.

The former premier says the charges against her are politically motivated.

The world’s leading human rights organizations have denounced Tymoshenko’s arrest.

“This latest development [Tymoshenko’s detention] has moved this situation from the absurd to the outrageous and reinforces the perception that the current administration is selectively prosecuting Tymoshenko as a means to silence her,” David Kramer, the president of Washington-based non-governmental organization, Freedom House said in a statement.

Kramer said that Ukraine must stop “such spurious proceedings” to be viewed as a viable partner for the United States and the European Union.

The co-chairman of Ukraine’s Kharkiv Human Rights Group, Evgeny Zakharov told news site that Tymoshenko’s arrest could lead to the collapse of Ukraine.

“Ukraine behaves like a non-civilized country,” quoted Zakharov as saying. “We have already experienced it…and it ended up in a total collapse and downfall of the country.”

Tymoshenko’s closest ally, the first deputy chairman of the Batkyvshchina (Fatherland) opposition party, Alexander Turchinov said that Ukrainian government could dare to kill Tymoshenko.

“They [Ukrainian authorities] will not stop in front of any crime, including… physical elimination of their main opponents, in particular, Yulia Tymoshenko,” Turchinov said in an interview with Russian Fifth TV channel.

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