* Judge throws out all defence objections
* Tymoshenko accused over 2009 gas deal with Russia
* Says her trial is political, refuses to stand in court
* West has warned Ukraine against "selective justice"
(Updates with ruling on trial from June 29)
By Pavel Polityuk and Richard Balmforth
KIEV, June 25 Former Ukrainian prime minister
Yulia Tymoshenko must stand trial next Wednesday on a charge of
abuse of power, a judge ruled in a pre-trial hearing late on
The charge carries a jail term of at least seven years.
Judge Rodion Kyriyev threw out objections by Tymoshenko and
her defence that the charge against her was politically
motivated and that President Viktor Yanukovich was behind it.
Earlier, the 50-year-old political firebrand had continued
to argue that the accusation against her, which relates to the
signing of a 2009 gas deal with Russia when she was in power,
was part of a wider political plot.
"The aim of this trial is the liquidation of a working
opposition in Ukraine," she said, before Kyriyev handed down his
"Consideration of the case is set for June 29 at 10 a.m.,"
Kyriyev declared, after emerging from deliberations.
Tymoshenko, twice prime minister and now in opposition, has
alleged Yanukovich, her bitter political foe, was the instigator
of a crooked court action that was certain to convict her.
Though Western governments have not come down publicly on
her side, visiting EU politicians have told the Yanukovich
leadership they are concerned over the possible use of
"selective justice" in Ukraine.
The gas supply agreement ended a stand-off between Russia
and its ex-Soviet neighbour over the pricing of Russian gas
which had led to supplies being cut off to Western Europe. It
has since been denounced by the Yanukovich leadership as a
sell-out, though Kiev is continuing to observe it.
The prosecution alleges that Tymoshenko, without consulting
her government, forced the then-head of state energy firm
Naftogaz to sign the gas deal with Russia's Gazprom .
She denies this.
"I did not break the law so where is the basis for the 7-10
years sentence which our 'bought' state prosecutor wants
pronounced against me?" she asked on Saturday before the judge
made his ruling.
REFUSES TO STAND
While a few hundred of her supporters braved torrential rain
on the streets of Kiev to express their solidarity, Tymoshenko
used her oratory in the courtroom to berate Kyriyev, whom she
denounced on Friday as a Yanukovich "puppet".
Refusing to stand to address the court, she told Kyriyev:
"Since this is an ordered operation by the President, I permit
myself to act towards the court as it does towards me. When the
court becomes honourable, only then will I address you as 'Your
She also asked for other accusations against her, including
misuse of government funds received in exchange of emission
quotas sold to Japan under the Kyoto protocol, to be heard by
Tymoshenko became known as the "gas princess" in the late
1990s as owner of a company which bought and sold Russian gas.
With her trademark peasant-style hair braid, she became an
international figure in 2004 when she led the "Orange
Revolution" street demonstrations that ultimately doomed
Yanukovich's first bid for the presidency.
She went on to serve two terms as prime minister. But in
February 2010, with many people disillusioned that the Orange
Revolution leaders had failed to deliver on their promises, she
lost to Yanukovich in a bitter fight for the presidency.
Though remaining very popular across the country, she has
failed to unify the opposition around her since her defeat.
(Reporting by Pavel Polityuk; Writing by Richard Balmforth;
Editing by Mark Trevelyan)