Don’t be fooled by her angelic looks, she’s as ruthless as she’s corrupt: A withering portrait of Ukraine’s ‘saviour’ by Edward Lucas, a Russia expert who knows her well

Nobody who meets Yulia Tymoshenko forgets the moment. The billionaire Ukrainian politician’s charm is formidable. In a political landscape studded with novices and thugs, she stands out. Her angelic beauty and two-year detention in jail has attracted worldwide sympathy.

On Saturday, she was released following the overthrow of Ukrainian president Viktor Yanukovych in a dramatic coup.

Later that night, Tymoshenko, who has been suffering severe back pain, appeared in a wheelchair in Kiev’s Independence Square, where she made a passionate speech to the 50,000-strong crowd. She called them ‘heroes’ who had removed a ‘cancer’ from the country. She also indicated she would run for president in elections in May.

But the prospect of her political comeback makes me fear for the future of the increasingly unstable and volatile Ukraine. Mrs Tymoshenko’s immaculate blonde tresses and sometimes kittenish ways have led many macho politicians in the Ukraine — and abroad — to underestimate her. The truth is that her determination is terrifying. Nobody and nothing gets in her way….
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