KIEV  - Ukraine’s high court on Wednesday rejected jailed ex-premier Yulia Tymoshenko’s appeal of her abuse of power conviction despite threats of being cut off from Western powers that view the case as political. About 100 supporters of the 2004 Orange Revolution leader rallied in the 51-year-old’s defence as Ukraine’s highest appeals authority agreed that she had no authority to seal a controversial gas deal with Russia in 2009. European Union and the US immediately voiced its “deep disappointment” and noted that outcome followed a trial that “did not respect international standards.”

The rejection marks the end of Tymoshenko’s domestic legal recourse and clears the way for her to take her full case to the European Court of Human Rights - a move the defence had been kept from making by months of judicial delays. “We will complete our additional appeal and file it (with the Strasbourg court) by the end of the week,” Tymoshenko’s lawyer Sergiy Vlasenko told reporters outside the courtroom. “We will not give up our fight,” added Tymoshenko’s high-profile daughter and new legal assistant Yevgenia.