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KIEV, March 30 (Itar-Tass) — The opposition party People’s Self-Defense of former Interior Minister Yuri Lutsenko has decided to unite with the Batkivshchyna Party of ex-Ukrainian Prime Minister Yulia Timoshenko. Lutsenko announced the decision in his appeal to the Batkivshchyna congress delegates from the Kiev detention ward.
“Being the People’s Self-Defense leader, I declare our affiliation to the Batkivshchyna Party. I believe that unity is the path towards victory. In the first turn, this is not a party victory but a victory of the common sense, a victory of the truth, Ukraine and its people,” he wrote.
Lutsenko stressed the need for unity of Ukrainian democrats. “The election campaign must not be held under the slogan of liberation of Timoshenko and Lutsenko. It must have the slogan of liberation of Ukraine. An urgent shift from inter-party negotiations, which have been dragging out for too long, to a practical, open and honest dialog with the voters is necessary,” he said.
In turn, Front for Change leader Arseny Yatsenyuk called for completing the unification process within three weeks. “I think we have reached the final straight in the election campaign 2012. I presume we may choose the way of making the united opposition victorious within the next three weeks,” he said.
“Timoshenko will be free, and justice will be restored in the country, Yatsenyuk said. “Those who do not join the united opposition in the election campaign support Yanukovich. We must be frank and say that our enemy is the Yanukovich regime, which must be destroyed,” he said.
The Batkivshchyna Party congress also listened to the appeal from Timoshenko, who called for the unity of Ukrainian opposition forces for the sake of victory in the October parliamentary election.
The opposition must not be divided in the election, Timoshenko said, suggesting a moratorium on mutual criticism. “The authorities fear the opposition unity more than sanctions, blocking of accounts in foreign banks or denial of visas,” she said.
Timoshenko expressed hope for the victory of opposition forces in the election and “the salvation of Ukraine.”