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Ukraine's Tymoshenko: 'gas princess,' prisoner, next president?

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Ukraine's Tymoshenko: 'gas princess,' prisoner, next president?

Ukraine's Tymoshenko: 'gas princess,' prisoner, next president?

Yulia Tymoshenko has been Ukraine's prime minister twice, was the global face of a revolution, imprisoned by two different presidents, and the target of an operation to discredit her by President Donald Trump's former campaign manager.

Lauren Anthony reports.

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Ukraine's Tymoshenko: 'gas princess,' prisoner, next president?

She's been Ukrainian prime minister twice and imprisoned by two different leaders.

Now Yulia Tymoshenko is hoping to score a third turn at the top.

Known for her fiery rhetoric and her former peasant braid hair style, the 58-year-old is determined to unseat her old rival, current president Petro Poroshenko, in a tighly contested vote in four weeks' time.

(SOUNDBITE) (Ukrainian) UKRAINIAN POLITICIAN AND PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE, YULIA TYMOSHENKO, SAYING: "Today and for the past twenty years, the country, unfortunately, has been governed by a corrupt mafia.

They find political strategies to fight against their serious and influential opponents, and therefore for me they have chosen the word 'populism'.

This is an informational strategy with which Poroshenko's corrupt mafia is fighting against me personally." It's been five years since Ukraine's Maidan street protests ousted a Kremlin-backed leader and set the country on a pro-Western course and a bloody confrontation with Russia.

Tymoshenko - the face of the 2004-2005 Orange Revolution - is popular with older voters - promising a threefold pension increase.

But her campaign is a difficult balancing act.

She promises reforms and continued cooperation with the International Monetary Fund, but also pledges to reverse sharp increases in the price of gas, used for heating homes, that the IMF set as a condition for more loans.

Having begun in poll position, she now trails behind Poroshenko and comedian Volodymyr Zelenskiy.

(SOUNDBITE) (Ukrainian) UKRAINIAN POLITICIAN AND PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE, YULIA TYMOSHENKO, SAYING: "I believe that Ukraine should end its history of voting for a person, a family name or a cool creative advertisement.

If Ukraine continues to vote like this, then we will have the same consequences which we had for the past 28 years." Her rhetoric can be pungent.

She calls the gas price increase "genocide".

Critics call her a populist.

Tymoshenko was the target of an operation to discredit her by President Donald Trump's former campaign manager.

As for her plan for dealing with Russia - persevere with the Minsk peace talks and push on with wider negotiations involving the U.S., UK and EU.

Ukrainians will cast their votes on March 31st.




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