Russia’s chief prosecutor will not drop a criminal case against Yulia Tymoshenko, nominated this week as Ukraine’s new prime minister, and warned that she could be arrested if she enters the country.
Prosecutors want millionairess Tymoshenko for questioning on accusations of bribing Russian defence officials and have issued an international arrest warrant. She denies the charges.
“This case will be investigated in accordance with Russian law – nothing more or less,” said Prosecutor General Vladimir Ustinov.
Asked whether Tymoshenko would be arrested if she enters Russia, Ustinov said there was already a court decision authorising her detention.
Ukraine’s President Viktor Yushchenko nominated Tymoshenko a day after his inauguration.
The appointment, which is subject to approval by the Ukrainian parliament, reflected her pivotal role in a wave of opposition protests, dubbed the Orange Revolution, that paved the way to Yushchenko’s victory over a Russia-backed rival in the presidential rerun.
After talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin in the Kremlin on Monday, Yushchenko suggested that the case against Tymoshenko might be closed.
He said he and Putin had discussed whether her legal problems in Russia could be resolved and that he was ”satisfied with the answer.”