KIEV, Oct. 11 (Xinhua) -- A Ukrainian court Tuesday sentenced former Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko to seven years in prison after convicting her of abuse of power for signing a 2009 gas deal with Russia.
Judge Rodion Kireev said that Tymoshenko, by signing an overpriced 10-year gas-import deal with Russia in 2009, caused Ukraine to lose 190 million U.S. dollars and that she should repay the losses.
In 2009, Tymoshenko "used the power granted to her for criminal purposes and, acting intentionally, committed acts that clearly went beyond the rights, which have led to serious consequences," Kireev said.
At the preliminary stage of the trial, the Prosecutor General's office claimed that Tymoshenko raised the price for Russian gas for personal interests as the deal would help pay off the debts of Unified Energy Systems of Ukraine, an industrial finance corporation she previously directed.
In response, Tymoshenko said that personal revenge by President Viktor Yanukovych was the real matter of the trial and that she would appeal the verdict in the European Court of Human Rights.
"No sentence can stop me. We will fight and defend my honest name in the European Court, and I am convinced that the European Court of Human Rights will make a legitimate, lawful decision," Tymoshenko said.
Meanwhile, the trial has put Ukraine under harsh criticism from both Brussels and Moscow.
Catherine Ashton, the EU's foreign policy chief, said the European Commission was "deeply disappointed" by the ruling.
Her remarks was echoed by Jerzy Buzek, president of the European Parliament, who said he expected Tymoshenko's sentence to be reviewed during the appeal process.
Several members of the European Parliament said that given Tymoshenko's verdict, the visit of Yanukovych to Brussels, scheduled for Oct. 20, should be canceled.
The Russian Foreign Ministry said Moscow saw "an anti-Russian subtext" in the story.
"Yulia Tymoshenko was prosecuted for the current, still valid, legally binding agreements between Gazprom and Naftogaz Ukraine," the ministry said in a statement.
Gennady Zyuganov, Russia's Communist Party leader, said he was convinced that Tymoshenko had not violated any law and the trial was politically motivated.
While acknowledging the uninviting consequences for Ukraine, Yanukovych said that he understood the EU's anxiety over the case, and stressed that the ruling was not final.
"Today, the court made its decision in the framework of the current criminal code. This is not the final decision," the president told reporters.
Analysts said that the verdict would further complicate Ukraine's relations with Western countries as well as Russia. It also would jeopardize Kiev's plan to take the first step toward joining the EU, they said.
Prosecutors in April opened a criminal case that charged Tymoshenko with overstepping her powers in the gas deal with Russia. She has been kept in custody since Aug. 5 on the charge of contempt of court.