Prosecutors said Monday that they had canceled an arrest warrant for former Ukrainian Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko after she appeared in Moscow over the weekend and was questioned.
|Actress Yelena Bond and LDPR Duma Deputy Alexei Mitrofanov attending the Moscow premiere of a porn film parodying Tymoshenko early Sunday|
Tymoshenko had been accused of bribing Russian defense officials while she headed Ukraine's main gas distributor, the now-defunct Unified Energy Systems.
Tymoshenko has denied the Russian charges, saying they were politically motivated.
The Military Prosecutor's Office canceled the international arrest warrant it had issued a year ago because Tymoshenko had provided investigators with necessary "explanations" over the weekend and agreed to show up voluntarily for questioning in the future, the prosecutor general's press service said in a brief statement.
Tymoshenko's spokesman, Petro Yakobchuk, said the former prime minister had been in Moscow on Sunday and was questioned by prosecutors.
"Common sense prevailed over absurdity," said Valentyn Zubov, a lawmaker from Tymoshenko's parliamentary faction, of Russia's decision to cancel the arrest warrant. "All the accusations against Tymoshenko were groundless. ... I feel shame for Russia and [President Vladimir] Putin."
Zubov said that Russia's attitude toward Tymoshenko had hurt the ethnic Russian population in Ukraine and damaged Russian-Ukrainian relations.
Tymoshenko, who was ousted from the prime minister's job on Sept. 8, had been protected by the immunity that all high officials enjoy. But after losing her job, she lost that immunity. There was no suggestion that her former ally President Viktor Yushchenko would consider handing over Tymoshenko, but her position, nevertheless, became more vulnerable.
Tymoshenko did not travel to Russia during her seven months as the head of Ukraine's government -- once canceling a planned visit earlier this year, a day after prosecutors said they would not drop the charges, though they did say they would respect her immunity as an official. At the time, she said the visit's cancellation was due to President Viktor Yushchenko's order to all Ukrainian officials with responsibilities for agriculture to concentrate on the spring sowing campaign.