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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

Ukraine's Tymoshenko calls on opposition forces to unite

RIA Novosti

17:43 22/01/2011

KIEV, January 22 (RIA Novosti) - Ukraine's opposition leader Yulia Tymoshenko has called on the country's opposition forces to unite.

Several thousand opposition members gathered on Saturday on Sofiyska Square, downtown Kiev, to mark the Ukrainian Unification Day, when the declaration of 1919 was signed uniting the Ukrainian lands.

"We must unite. Our chance is the next parliamentary democratic election," said the former prime minister, who heads the Batkivshchyna (Fatherland) party.

Ukraine will hold the next parliamentary election in 2012.

Ukrainian Interior Minister Anatoliy Mohyliov said earlier provocations which could lead to bloodshed were planned on Saturday. The opposition claimed no actions were expected.

According to the Interior Ministry, a total of 12 political parties have requested to take part in the event. Some 60,000 people are due to arrive.

Some 2,300 police and Interior Ministry troops will ensure security during Saturday's event.

The Ukrainian opposition has been divided since the 2010 presidential campaign as many its members stood as candidates in the election.

Media reports said earlier this week the leaders of four Ukrainian opposition parties were in talks on uniting into one big opposition force intended to counterbalance the existing "leftist" opposition of Yulia Tymoshenko.

Tymoshenko moved to the opposition after her government was dissolved in March following presidential elections that she narrowly lost to Viktor Yanukovych.

She has strongly criticized Yanukovych's government, accusing it of bowing down to Russia and betraying Ukrainian national interests.