Ukrainian politician and former Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko (front C) attends a news conference in Kiev, March 27, 2014. REUTERS/Valentyn Ogirenko
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Ukraine's race to succeed ousted Russian-backed president Viktor Yanukovych heated up Friday after his arch-rival Yulia Tymoshenko joined a crowded field of contenders ready to tighten Kiev's embrace of the West.The charismatic but hugely divisive Tymoshenko's decision to contest the May 25 poll encapsulates the spectacular scale of change that has swept over the culturally splintered nation since it was first hit by waves of deadly pro-Europe protests four months ago. Things could hardly be more different for the Batkivshchyna (Fatherland) party that Tymoshenko founded, which is expected to formally back her candidacy at its own convention Saturday.Tymoshenko said Friday that Yanukovych would one day answer for his call for regional referendums in court. The pro-Russian camp for its part is made up of figures whose appeal is mostly constrained to specific regions and who -- unlike Tymoshenko and Klitschko -- have limited experience in dealing with foreign dignitaries.
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