Chairman of the U.S. Helsinki Commission Senator Benjamin Cardin is urging the Ukrainian government to resolve the case of former Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko and restore her civic and political rights, according to the official web site of Yulia Tymoshenko.

"Yulia Tymoshenko's case stands out as a significant illustration of Ukraine's backsliding with respect to human rights, democracy, and the rule of law since she was defeated by President Yanukovych in February 2010. I strongly urge the Ukrainian government to resolve the case of Tymoshenko," Benjamin Cardin said during the April 9 debates in the U.S. Congress on "Political imprisonment in Ukraine".

The U.S. Senator welcomed the release from prison of former Minister of Internal Affairs Yuriy Lutsenko and expressed hope that Yulia Tymoshenko would be released soon. "The Ukrainian authorities now need to follow up on the important step they have taken in freeing Yuriy Lutsenko. They need to free Tymoshenko and restore her civil and political rights," he stressed.

Senator Cardin believes the politically motivated imprisonment of Yulia Tymoshenko casts a shadow over Ukraine’s chairmanship of the OSCE. "The Chair-in-Office must itself have strong democratic credentials if it is to succeed in encouraging reform in other countries. By demonstrating commitment to the rule of law and human rights principles embodied by the OSCE, Ukraine will strengthen the credibility of its chairmanship and show it is serious about being a full-fledged member of the democratic community of nations," he said.

The Senator underlined that democratic regression in Ukraine has harmed U.S.-Ukrainian bilateral relations, preventing a traditionally strong partnership from realizing its full potential and has slowed down the process of Ukraine's drawing closer to the EU, a stated foreign policy priority.