KIEV, November 16 - RAPSI. Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych admits that the criminal cases opened against former Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko obstruct the ratification of the EU-Ukraine Association Agreement.

Ukrainian Prime Minister Mykola Azarov told last Friday that Ukraine and the union have almost agreed on the entire text of the association agreement

The prime minister added that the parties have yet to reach a compromise on a provision of key importance for Ukraine that deals with strengthening of its membership perspective in the EU.

Ukrainian leaders contemplate signing the association and the free trade area agreement by the end of 2011. However the signing was put in question after Tymoshenko was sentenced to seven years in prison for abuse of power in concluding gas supply contracts with Russia in 2009.

"We do not know what is happening there, other than from media reports. We do not interfere, so it is difficult to talk about it... However this issue is one of those hindering the agreement's ratification, possibly, by some parties," Yanukovych commented on Tymoshenko's prosecution on Tuesday.

He emphasized that the authorities cannot interfere with the judicial proceedings, but observed that the country is working to disassociate international treaties' ratification from Tymoshonko cases.

Yanukovych repeated that the case was opened against Tymoshenko as prime minister, not as an opposition leader.

The former prime minister was charged with non-disclosing $165 million in foreign currency proceeds, public funds embezzlement and tax evasion in the amount of over 47 million hryvnias ($5.8 million). The four cases have been consolidated into one.