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Azarov, 64, a close ally of President Viktor Yanukovych, insisted that Tymoshenko was not being punished for opposing Yanukovych.

Tymoshenko is prosecuted not at all because of her political convictions but for what she did, for bringing colossal losses to the country, to the people,” Azarov said.

In Kiev, many fans agreed with Azarov’s assessment of the tournament, saying Euro 2012 has been a success.

“It’s a beautiful country, beautiful city, beautiful people,” said Daniel Ekeroos, a 39-year-old carpenter from Linkoping, Sweden. “I don’t have any negative things to say.”

But Stefane Gaertner, a 30-year-old engineer from Strasbourg, France, stopped by a protest camp set up by Tymoshenko’s supporters just outside the Euro 2012 fan zone in the center of Kiev to get a T-shirt that read “Free Yulia.”

“The (French) government has declared that one must show solidarity and it’s true that it’s a strange case, it’s bad,” Gaertner said, adding that he would wear the T-shirt at matches played by France. “One should fight for liberty, human rights and we try to support freedom.”