France welcomes release of Ukraine ex-PM Tymoshenko
BEIJING (AFP) - France on Sunday welcomed the surprise release from prison of former Ukrainian prime minister Yulia Tymoshenko and called on all sides in the politically divided nation to refrain from further violence.
After three months of violent anti-government protests, Ukrainian demonstrators seized control of the capital Kiev on Saturday in a historic cascade of events that saw jailed opposition icon Tymoshenko walk free while marginalised President Viktor Yanukovych defiantly claimed to still wield power.
"We welcome the release of Mrs Tymoshenko," French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius, who is currently on an official visit to Beijing, said in a statement to AFP.
"In the exceptional situation that is the Ukraine, France, alongside its European partners, appeals for the preservation of the unity and integrity of the country and the abandonment of violence."