Tymoshenko Compares Ukraine President with Stalin

World | December 6, 2013, Friday // 13:45|  views

Supporters of Ukrainian opposition leader Yulia Tymoshenko hold her portraits as they sit near a hospital, where Tymoshenko is being treated in Kharkov. Photo EPA/BGNES

Ukraine's opposition leader Yulia Tymoshenko has compared the country's President Viktor Yanukovych with Stalin.

Commenting on the forceful dispersal of pro-EU demonstrators in Kiev, Tymoshenko accused the President of turning Ukraine into North Korea and urged the opposition to topple him.

"We see the emerging of a new Stalin in Ukraine. If we, together with the democratic world, fail to stop him, Ukraine will become a second North Korea," said Tymoshenko.

"The people of Ukraine should immediately take power without any restrained negotiations with the dictator," says Tymoshenko, the "icon" of the pro-Western "Orange Revolution" of 2004, though she has said in earlier statements that she wanted a "peaceful" protest.

Citizens and university students have been staging mass rallies for nearly two weeks in Kiev against Yanukovych's refusal to sign the Association Agreement with the EU.

Rallies have been held in Odessa, Lvov, and other cities.

Violent clashes with riot police were reported with many demonstrators sustaining serious injuries after being attacked with batons and teargas. A number of protesters have been reported missing.

On Tuesday, Ukraine's Verkhovna Rada (Parliament) rejected the no-confidence vote against the government, scheduled on the opposition's request.

Before the vote, Prime Minister Mykola Azarov apologized for the actions of Berkut, Ukraine's special riot police units, early Saturday morning, when they dispersed by extreme force pro-EU protesters in Kiev.

Ukraine made the decision on the EU deal two weeks ago, saying it could not afford to break ties with Moscow. Russia is trying to bring Kiev into its own customs union

The Ukrainian opposition, led by former heavyweight boxing champion, Vitali Klitschko, who chairs the opposition Ukrainian Democratic Alliance for Reform party (UDAR - Punch), is urging pro-EU protesters to not give up.

Tymoshenko announced she was beginning an indefinite hunger strike.

Yulia Tymoshenko was Prime Minister of Ukraine from January to September 2005, and again from December 2007 to March 2010.

She is the leader of the All-Ukrainian Union "Fatherland," which is the largest opposition political party in Ukraine.

Since May 2010, a number of criminal cases have been brought against her. On June 24, 2011, a trial started in the "gas case," concerning a contract with Russian gas company Gazprom to supply natural gas to Ukraine, which had been signed in 2009. Tymoshenko was charged of abuse of power and embezzlement, as an, allegedly biased, court found the deal anti-economic for the country and abusive. On October 2011, a Ukrainian court sentenced Tymoshenko to seven years in prison after she was found guilty of all charges. The sentence caused public protests in front of the court house.

The trial was viewed by many international organizations, such as the Danish Helsinki Committee, as a politically-charged persecution that violates the law.

Tymoshenko is currently being held under police surveillance in a Kharkov hospital, where, since May 2012, she has been receiving treatment after being diagnosed with a spinal disc herniation.

The EU has repeatedly called for release of Yulia Tymoshenko as main condition for signing the EU Association Agreement.

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Tags: Yulia Tymoshenko, Stalin, North Korea, EU, European Union, Russia, gas case, president, Mykola Azarov, Ukrainian Prime Minister, Ukrainian President, Viktor Yanukovich, university students, opposition, Association Agreement, Kiev, Ukraine, protest, clashes, riot police, Berkut, parliament, Verkhovna Rada, expulsion, repressions, university students, Orange Revolution


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