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Ukraine court jails former PM Yulia Tymoshenko for 7 years

Sergey Dolzhenko / EPA

Former Ukrainian Prime Minister and opposition leader Yulia Tymoshenko, center, her daughter Yevgenia, left, and husband Aleksandr, right, look on during the verdict hearing at the City districts court in Kiev, Ukraine, on October 11.

Reuters reports from KIEV:

A Ukrainian court on Tuesday sentenced former prime minister Yulia Tymoshenko to seven years in prison for abuse of office in relation to a 2009 gas deal with Russia that she brokered, a case regarded widely in the West as politically orchestrated.

Judge Rodion Kireyev handed down the sentence -- the maximum sought by state prosecutors -- at the end of a three-month trial that has polarized society in the ex-Soviet republic and risks undermining Ukraine's relations with the West.

Sergei Supinsky / AFP - Getty Images

Yulia Tymoshenko speaks in the courtroom as Judge Rodion Kireyev reads the verdict to her. Tymoshenko was sentenced to seven years in jail for abusing her powers in a 2009 gas deal with Russia. Kireyev said the 10-year contract for gas imports had sustained heavy losses for Ukraine and ruled that Tymoshenko's actions were criminal.

Sergei Chuzavkov / AP

Riot police block supporters of Yulia Tymoshenko outside the Pecherskiy District Court on October 11.

The European Union, a major trading partner for Ukraine, immediately denounced the judgment as politically motivated and told President Viktor Yanukovich's leadership that it would boomerang seriously against relations.

Tymoshenko's supporters say Yanukovich wants to neutralize her as a political force before next year's parliamentary election. Read the full story.

Sergey Dolzhenko / EPA

Yulia Tymoshenko comforts her daughter in court.