Tymoshenko spat erupts between Ukraine, Rome

Last Updated: Wed, Nov 28, 2012 14:45 hrs

An Italian mayor and a Ukrainian one are trading barbs over the prosecution of their countries' former premiers.

On Monday, Rome mayor Gianni Alemanno put up a huge portrait of the jailed former Ukrainian Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko accompanied by the phrase "Freedom for Tymoshenko." Tymoshenko is serving a seven-year sentence for abuse of office while negotiating a gas contract with Russia, but her trial has been denounced as politically motivated by the West.

Kharkiv mayor Gennady Kernes fired back Wednesday by hanging a poster of former Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi, who is appealing a four-year jail sentence on charges of tax fraud. The poster read "Hands off Berlusconi! Because of him Italy lost millions. Rome city hall, support not only Ukraine's (leader) but also your prime minister!"

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