Ukraine: Jailed former interior minister pardoned

Ukraine's president has pardoned a former interior minister and a close ally of imprisoned former Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko.

President Viktor Yanukovych on Sunday signed a decree to pardon Yuri Lutsenko who is serving a four-year sentence on corruption charges.

Tymoshenko is also serving a seven-year prison sentence after being convicted in 2011 of abuse office. The West has called both cases politically motivated. The European Union has warned that it will not sign a key cooperation agreement with Kiev until those two cases are resolved.

The state prison service said that Lutsenko has already been freed. Lutsenko's brother Sergei said he was on the way to pick up Lutsenko from jail.