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White House welcomes release of Ukraine's Tymoshenko

Yulia Tymoshenko leaving hospital in KharkivThe White House welcomed the release from prison on Saturday of former Ukraine prime minister and opposition leader Yulia Tymoshenko, saying that the strife-hit country’s people “must determine their own future.” Protesters in Ukraine seized control of the capital Kiev and celebrated Tymoshenko’s release, but marginalized President Viktor Yanukovych defiantly declared he still wielded power. The situation in the ex-Soviet nation — deeply divided between aspirations towards the European Union and loyalty to Russia — was still fluid and uncertainty reigned over whether the opposition had definitively triumphed over Yanukovych on a day of high drama, exactly three months into the country’s crisis. Lawmakers followed that up with an equally dramatic move ordering the release of Tymoshenko — a former premier and stalwart supporter of close EU ties who remained Yanukovych’s nemesis even when she was sent to prison in 2011 on a seven-year sentence for “abuse of power.”

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