U.N. General Assembly resolution calls Crimean referendum invalid
By Alex Felton and Marie-Louise Gumuchian, KIEV, Ukraine (CNN) — [Breaking news alert, 12:10 p.m.]
The U.N. General Assembly on Thursday approved a nonbinding resolution calling invalid the Crimean referendum to secede from Ukraine. The vote was 100 countries in favor, 11 against, and 58 abstained.
[Previous story, 10:01 a.m.]
Ukraine’s Yulia Tymoshenko says she’ll run for president
Former Ukrainian Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko, released from jail last month, said Thursday that she intends to run for president in May elections
After more than two years in prison, she was released in February after the ouster of her archrival, President Viktor Yanukovych.
She has already served twice as prime minister and ran for president in 2010.
“Yes, I am planning to run,” she said at a news conference at her office in Kiev.
Tymoshenko said she intended to ask delegates at her Batkivshchyna Party congress on Saturday to nominate her as a presidential candidate.
Ukraine’s elections are taking place against a backdrop of poor economic conditions, Moscow’s annexation of Crimea and rumblings of discontent in the mainly Russian-speaking eastern regions.
Tymoshenko’s announcement came as the International Monetary Fund announced a $14 billion to $18 billion bailout for Ukraine to avoid bankruptcy. The bailout is tied to painful reforms amid the country’s escalating standoff with neighbor Russia.
With her trademark hair braid, Tymoshenko came to international prominence during the 2004 “Orange Revolution” that toppled Yanukovych’s first administration.
A rerun of the election handed the presidency to her political ally, Viktor Yushchenko, under whom she was Prime Minister. Amid broad disappointment with that government’s performance, Yanukovych was again elected in 2010.
Tymoshenko was imprisoned in 2011 for corruption linked to a gas deal she brokered with Russia in 2009. She served two years of a seven-year term, mainly under prison guard in a hospital in Kharkiv, before being released.
During the mass anti-government protests that began in late November and eventually ousted Yanukovych, many demonstrators carried her picture.
Upon her release from prison, Tymoshenko, in a wheelchair, addressed crowds in Kiev’s Independence Square, the epicenter of the rallies that began when Yanukovych spurned a deal with the European Union in favor of closer ties to Moscow.
Early presidential elections in Ukraine are scheduled for May 25. Former boxer Vitaliy Klitschko and billionaire businessman Petro Poroshenko are also expected to take part in the elections.