Ukrainian court orders former premier Tymoshenko detained
A Ukrainian court on Friday ordered the detention of former prime minister Yulia Tymoshenko, who is under investigation for abuse of power while in office, the Interfax news agency reported.
The Kiev court last week turned down a similar request from the prosecution, DPA reported.
Tymoshenko, who leads the opposition All-Ukrainian Union party, is charged with causing losses of hundreds of millions of dollars to Ukraine as a result of a gas deal with Russia, the country's main energy supplier.
As prime minister between 2005 and 2009, she is accused of signing a gas import agreement with Russia without obtaining cabinet approval.
President Victor Yanokovych meanwhile rejected accusations that he had a hand in the detention of his rival.
"The president has said many times that his administration has nothing to do with [the case against Tymoshenko], and cannot intervene in the activity of the judiciary according to the constitution," his spokeswoman, Darya Chepak, told the Interfax news agency.
In 2004, Tymoshenko was a leader in Ukraine's pro-democracy Orange Revolution, when hundreds of thousands of Ukrainians participated in street demonstrations against a fraudulent presidential election.
Tymoshenko lost the 2010 presidential polls against Yanukovych and has accused the president of attempting to sideline political opponents.