Ukraine president says he may pardon imprisoned ally of ex-PM Tymoshenko

Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych says he will consider pardoning an imprisoned ally of jailed former Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko.

Yuri Lutsenko, an opposition leader, was convicted on abuse-of-office charges that Western governments have condemned as politically motivated. Tymoshenko was convicted and jailed on similar charges, and the West has demanded her release, too.

Yanukovych indicated Friday that in addition to considering a pardon for Lutsenko, Tymoshenko may see her punishment softened, but only if she compensates the state for the damages her actions have cost it — a figure put at $190 million.

The EU has given Ukraine until May to resolve the cases of Tymoshenko and Lutsenko, saying it will not sign a key partnership agreement with Kiev until its concerns over the jailed politicians are addressed.