KIEV, Feb. 23 (Xinhua) -- Former Ukrainian Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko late Saturday urged protestors to continue their encampment in Kiev's Independence Square after her release from prison.
"You are heroes, you are the best thing in Ukraine!" the opposition icon said in a touching speech to a 50,000-strong crowd in the square, known in Ukrainian as the Maidan.
"In no case do you have the right to leave the Maidan until you have concluded everything that you planned to do," she said, sitting in a wheelchair due to a back problem.
The Independence Square, where a sprawling protest tent camp was set up in December, has been the center stage for the past three months of anti-government demonstration in Ukraine, whose latest escalation has claimed dozens of lives.
In a dramatic turnabout in Ukraine's political chaos, the parliament voted on Saturday to dismiss President Viktor Yanukovych from his office and set early elections, a day after he made concessions to his pro-European opponents in a European-mediated peace deal.
The parliament also ordered the release of Yanukovych's arch-rival Tymoshenko, who walked free from a prison facility Saturday night to join supporters in Kiev.
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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WASHINGTON, Feb. 22 (Xinhua) -- The White House on Saturday welcomed what it called "constructive work" in Ukraine's parliament, where the opposition has taken control and lawmakers voted to dismiss President Viktor Yanukovych, one day after the two sides signed a deal seeking to end a spiral of lethal violence in the country. Full story
EP president welcomes reported release of Yulia Tymoshenko
BRUSSELS, Feb. 22 (Xinhua) -- The president of the European Parliament (EP) Martin Schulz on Saturday welcomed the reported release of Former Ukrainian Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko.
"On behalf of the European Parliament, I warmly welcome the reports of Yulia Tymoshenko's release from prison," said Schulz in his statement, "This is an historic moment for Ukraine and Europe. My thoughts are with Yulia, her family and supporters." Full story
Russia concerned over failure of Ukrainian opposition to implement peace deal
MOSCOW, Feb. 22 (Xinhua) -- Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov Saturday expressed serious concern over what he called the failure of the Ukrainian opposition to fulfill a peace deal with President Viktor Yanukovych.
"The opposition has not fulfilled any obligations and it has made new demands following the actions taken by armed extremists and rioters, who posed a direct threat to sovereignty and the constitutional system of Ukraine," Lavrov said during a telephone conversations with foreign ministers of Germany, Poland and France. Full story