Senate Pushes for Release of Ukrainian Leader Jailed Over Natural-Gas Contract

A protestor holds up an image of former Ukrainian Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko.
National Journal
Alex Brown
Add to Briefcase
Alex Brown
Nov. 19, 2013, 9:57 a.m.

Former Ukrain­i­an Prime Min­is­ter Yulia Ty­moshen­ko is two years in­to a sev­en-year pris­on sen­tence, but U.S. lead­ers are rais­ing ques­tions about the cir­cum­stances be­hind her im­pris­on­ment and call­ing for her re­lease to seek treat­ment for her ail­ing back.

The Sen­ate un­an­im­ously passed a res­ol­u­tion Monday call­ing on Ukrain­i­an of­fi­cials to re­lease Ty­moshen­ko, who was jailed in 2011 after ac­cus­a­tions she ab­used her power to award a nat­ur­al-gas con­tract to a Rus­si­an com­pany. “I am dis­mayed by the seem­ing in­ab­il­ity to find a reas­on­able com­prom­ise that would al­low Ms. Ty­moshen­ko to be re­leased to seek med­ic­al treat­ment abroad,” said Sen­ate Ma­jor­ity Whip Dick Durbin, D-Ill., who led the push for the res­ol­u­tion.

Durbin’s quote came in a re­lease that noted that nu­mer­ous “polit­ic­al and hu­man-rights groups have called the charges polit­ic­ally mo­tiv­ated and se­lect­ively pro­sec­uted and called for Ty­moshen­ko’s re­lease.”

So how did a nat­ur­al-gas con­tract land a na­tion­al lead­er in jail? In 2009, Ty­moshen­ko inked a nat­ur­al-gas sup­ply deal with Rus­sia that some felt was un­fa­vor­able to Ukraine. The former gas ex­ec­ut­ive — known as the “gas prin­cess” — came to for­tune as an ex­ec­ut­ive for a com­pany that im­por­ted Rus­si­an nat­ur­al gas to Ukraine. She was ous­ted in the 2010 elec­tions and jailed the fol­low­ing year as the coun­try’s new lead­ers ac­cused her of ab­us­ing her power to push through the deal.

Ty­moshen­ko has denied the charges, ques­tioned the in­teg­rity of the 2010 elec­tion, and al­leged she has been mis­treated while in jail. European Uni­on of­fi­cials have sug­ges­ted her con­tin­ued im­pris­on­ment could hold up trade agree­ments, and now U.S. lead­ers are say­ing the same. “Pres­id­ent Ya­nukovych should seize a his­tor­ic op­por­tun­ity for the Ukraine by free­ing former Prime Min­is­ter Yulia Ty­moshen­ko from jail, and agree­ing to a cru­cial trade and polit­ic­al agree­ment with the European Uni­on,” said Sen. Robert Men­en­dez, D-N.J.

What We're Following See More »
RSC OPPOSITION
House Conservatives Balk on Obamacare Replacement
37 minutes ago
THE LATEST

"The chairman of the influential Republican Study Committee said Monday he would vote against a draft ObamaCare replacement bill that leaked last week. Rep. Mark Walker (R-NC), head of the 172-member committee, said Monday his opposition stems from the draft bill's use of refundable tax credits." He said the current plan simply "kicks the can down the road" rather than attempt any real reform.

Source:
ENLISTS THEIR HELP IN REPEAL/REPLACE
Trump Meets with Health Execs
37 minutes ago
THE LATEST
ALSO VICTIMS OF VIOLENCE BY ILLEGAL IMMIGRANTS
Scalia’s Widow to Be Trump’s Guest at Speech
38 minutes ago
THE DETAILS

The White House revealed its guest list for President Trump's address to Congress on Tuesday night. The marquee name: Maureen Scalia, the wife of the late Justice Antonin Scalia. Also seated with the first lady will be three family members of people killed by illegal immigrants.

ZINKE NEXT IN LINE
Wilbur Ross Confirmed as Commerce Secretary
54 minutes ago
THE LATEST
FORMER GOVERNOR, AMBASSADOR TO CHINA
Jon Huntsman in Line to be #2 at State
9 hours ago
THE DETAILS
×
×

Welcome to National Journal!

You are currently accessing National Journal from IP access. Please login to access this feature. If you have any questions, please contact your Dedicated Advisor.

Login