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Ukraine

Former Ukrainian Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko to run for president

Former Ukrainian Prime Minister Tymoshenko has said she plans to run for president. The former opposition leader was freed from jail last month following the ouster of President Viktor Yanukovych.

Tymoshenko to run for president

Ukraine's high-profile politician Yulia Tymoshenko announced on Thursday that she would run in the upcoming May 25 presidential elections. Tymoshenko, 53, served as prime minister of Ukraine twice. She also ran for the presidency in 2010, losing at a runoff to Viktor Yanukovych.

"I intend to run for president of Ukraine," Tymoshenko told reporters in Kyiv.

The former premier was released from police custody in February. Her return to the spotlight was welcomed by many in Ukraine calling for a reform. Tymoshenko served more than two years in prison after being convicted on a charge of abuse of office, for which she was sentenced to seven years. The trial was internationally condemned as being politically motivated. She was the charismatic leader of the 2004 Orange Revolution and challenged Yanukovych in a bitterly contested presidential election in 2010.

Her release followed several months of popular protest which led to the removal of President Yanukovych.

Ukraine currently faces a political crisis within its borders and with neighboring Russia. In the weeks following the installment of the interim government in Kyiv, the country's southern peninsula of Crimea held a referendum vote to secede in favor of joining the Russian Federation. The EU and the US have rejected the outcome of the referendum, calling it illegal and illegimate.

Later on Thursday, the UN joined the West's condemnation, passing a non-binding resolution declaring Crimea's Moscow-backed referendum invalid.

Russia's action sparked international outcry, primarily directed at President Vladimir Putin, who supported the move as a just reunification of lost territory after the fall of the USSR. Ukraine along with other eastern European countries fear Russia plans to engage in military aggression with the region, possibly with the intent of annexing more territory.

kms,dr/msh (AP, AFP, Reuters)

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