Ukraine’s former PM Tymoshenko to run for president

KIEV, Ukraine – Ukraine’s former Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko announced Thursday, in her first news conference since being released from prison in February, that she will run in the country’s upcoming presidential elections on May 25.

"I will run for president," Tymoshenko said. "I will be Ukraine’s candidate of unity."

Tymoshenko, a deeply polarizing figure in Ukraine, was jailed in 2011 for exceeding her position of power as prime minister when signing gas deals with Russia. She was released from prison by the current interim government shortly after her longtime bitter rival Viktor Yanukovych was ousted from the presidency after deadly clashes in the streets of Kiev left nearly 100 dead.

She previously ran for president in 2010, but narrowly lost to Yanukovych in an election that was considered fair by the international community.

Ukraine’s presidential elections come at a time when the country is teetering on the brink of economic collapse. Russia’s recent invasion and annexation of the Crimean peninsula has exacerbated a political crisis that has consumed the country since anti-government protests began in late November 2013.

Street protests first broke out after Yanukovych rejected a far-reaching trade pact with the European Union amid pressure from Moscow.

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