European Union protests over the jailing of former Ukrainian Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko won’t lead to her liberation, said President Viktor Yanukovych, who continues to seek a trade agreement with the bloc.

“The point isn’t if someone likes” the verdict “or doesn’t -- in Ukraine or in Europe,” Yanukovych told foreign reporters yesterday in Kiev. “The point is that there is supremacy of law, there is a court that decides. Whatever decision the court makes, we must respect it.”

"What kind of signal do we give society?" Mr. Yanukovych said. "That to be able to commit crimes one should be a member of the opposition?"

Raising his voice, he called on the West to respect his country, saying he had the impression that "they don't want to listen" to his claims that he hasn't interfered in the work of courts and law-enforcement agencies.

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