It was at the end of a dramatic day for the opposition rebels in Kiev. President Viktor Yanukovych fled Kiev, but the appearance of former Ukrainian Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko and her words united the people of the Ukraine today.
‘You are heroes,’ she told the crowd in Independence Square, the focus of protests against President Viktor Yanukovych, and broke down in tears.
Tymoshenko spoke from her wheel chair to rally the crowds. She has a back problem and was released today from prison hospital. She warned the protesters amidst the cheers that the job was not done.
Tymoshenko was not welcomed by all. Some protestors left to make the statement that they did not want her back in power shouting that she did not represent them, the BBC's Tim Wilcox in Independence Square reports.
She was Prime Minister of Ukraine from 2005 until 2010 when she was ousted in a presidential election won by Viktor Yanukovych. She was jailed in 2011 for abuse of power by agreeing during her term to a natural gas deal with Russia that supposedly was a disadvantage to the Ukraine. She was released by the parliament vote yesterday.
It was a 180 degree turn when the parliament voted Saturday to remove Yanukovych, set an election for May 25 which turns away from the Soviet Union. The problems arose when Yanukovych rejected joining the EU and formed an alliance with Russia. Energy was at the basis for the decision. Russia pays the Ukraine’s debts. The EU has 25% of its natural gas supplied by Russia of which 80% travels through the Ukraine.
A dispute in 2005 arose between Russia and the Ukraine. Russia accused that the Ukraine was keeping the energy supplies for itself. The situation was resolved in January 2006 but issues still continued through current year.
Last year when the EU and the Ukraine were discussing a trade pact there was a demand of the European Union that Tymoshenko was to be released. President Yanukovych rejected it and the protests arose from that decision.
European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso welcomed Tymoshenko's release today, calling it ‘essential for a democratic Ukraine’.
Russian President Vladimir Putin's had a plan recreating as much as possible of the Soviet Union in a new Eurasian Union. He had counted on Yanukovych as a key player in the plan. As Putin and the Olympics close tomorrow in Sochi, it is for Putin a lost attempt for the gold.
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