“Experts in Ukraine and abroad believe the trial’s real motive is to disqualify Tymoshenko from upcoming parliamentary and presidential elections by convicting her as a felon.
“Tymoshenko was nicknamed Ukraine’s ‘gas princess’ in the late 1990s for serving as the head of a leading natural gas importer. She was jailed briefly in 2001 on suspicion of smuggling gas, but the case never went to trial.
“Tymoshenko has a long and bitter history with Yanukovych.
“She was the central figure in Ukraine’s 2004 Orange Revolution mass protests that threw out Yanukovych’s fraud-tainted victory in a presidential election and led to another vote that brought a pro-Western government to power.”