|Former Ukrainian Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko addresses her supporters following her release from prison at the Independence Plaza in Kiev, Ukraine, Feb. 22, 2014. (Xinhua/Dai Tianfang)
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BRUSSELS, Feb. 22 (Xinhua) -- European Union (EU) foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton on Saturday welcomed the release of former Ukrainian Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko.
"This comes as an important step forward in view of addressing concerns regarding selective justice in the country," said Ashton in a statement.
Ashton called on all sides of Ukraine to continue engaging in a meaningful dialogue to fulfill the legitimate democratic aspirations of the Ukrainian people.
She said that the EU expects everyone in Ukraine to behave responsibly with a view to protect the unity, sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity of the country, and the EU remains fully committed to support an inclusive political process, help de-escalate the situation and to assist Ukraine in the process of reform.
Tymoshenko, a key opposition leader, was convicted in October 2011 of abuse of power over a 2009 gas deal with Russia.
She was also charged with embezzling an estimated 405 million U.S. dollars and evading tax worth more than 87,000 dollars in the 1990s.
The 53-year-old opposition leader, who is receiving medical treatment in a state hospital in Kharkov city in eastern Ukraine, has denied all the charges, saying they are politically motivated.
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