Ukraine Parliament Votes for Early Election; Tymoshenko Freed

KIEV, Ukraine — Ukraine’s parliament has voted to call early presidential elections for May 25.

The decision comes just hours after embattled President Viktor Yanukovych said he wouldn’t respect any decisions made by parliament.

Under an agreement reached Friday between Yanukovych and leaders of the opposition protests that have brought Ukraine into crisis, early elections were to be held no later than December.

But the possibility that he could remain in office for the rest of the year angered protesters who want his immediate departure.

The party of former Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko says that she has been released after 2½ years in prison.

Tymoshenko is the founder of the Fatherland Party, Ukraine’s leading opposition party.

She was sentenced to seven years in prison in Aug. 2011, according to the Washington Post, over an expensive natural gas deal she signed with Russia.

Party spokeswoman Olha Lappo says Tymoshenko is heading from the prison in the eastern city of Kharkiv to the capital to join protesters there.

Her release Saturday was made possible by a European-brokered peace deal between her arch-rival, President Viktor Yanukovych, and the opposition.

First video of Tymoshenko after being released, courtesy of @KyivPost.

(© Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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