Opinion polls have consistently placed the 58-year-old, who was the country’s prime minister between 2007 and 2010, as a front-runner in the presidential election set for March 31, ahead of incumbent Petro Poroshenko.
Tymoshenko announced her bid to a rapturous audience at her party congress in Kiev on Tuesday, promising to regain control of the Russian-annexed Crimean peninsula and the separatist-held areas in the east. She assailed Poroshenko and top officials for profiting from the ongoing separatist conflict in the east.
“I can promise you I will not be treating the war as a profitable business,” she said.
Tymoshenko was first elected to parliament in 1996 and spearheaded massive protests in 2004 together with then-presidential candidate Viktor Yushchenko. Following Yushchenko’s victory, Tymoshenko was appointed prime minister. She was dismissed less than nine months later amid disputes with Yushchenko. She served as prime minister again between 2007 and 2010.