The United States has welcomed the release of two Ukrainian opposition leaders and allies of the jailed former Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko, spokesperson of the National Security Council of the United States of America Caitlin Hayden stated.

On April 7, Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych pardoned former interior minister Yuriy Lutsenko, who was imprisoned for embezzlement and ordering illegal surveillance of suspects while investigating the poisoning of Viktor Yushchenko just before the latter's 2004 presidential election victory over Yanukovych.

Former environment minister Heorhiy Filipchuk, who was imprisoned for abuse of office, was also pardoned.

Hayden said that it was an "important step toward addressing concerns about democracy and the rule of law in Ukraine."

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