KIEV - Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovich on Thursday defended a criminal court action against his political foe, ex-prime minister Yulia Tymoshenko, and refused to interfere in her trial.
Yanukovich has come under pressure from the West to intervene in the Tymoshenko trial, which many Western governments say appears to be politically motivated.Yanukovich and Tymoshenko have been at daggers drawn since he narrowly defeated her in an ill-tempered election for president in February 2010. Her supporters say the trial on a charge of abuse-of-office and which has been going on for several week is aimed at neutralising her as an opposition force.
Replying specifically to Czech President Vaclav Klaus, Yanukovich said the Ukrainian court system was "independent and unbiased". "I can not and will not interfere in the work of the Ukrainian courts," he wrote in a letter to Klaus, the text of which was published on Yanukovich's presidential website.