Russian president Dmitry Medvedev made a deal with the prime minister Vladimir Putin to dump former Ukrainian premier Yulia Tymoshenko, WikiLeaks' emails from Stratfor intelligence company have revealed.
According to a senior, reliable "pro-western diplomat in Kiev" Medvedev "never liked Tymoshenko". She is serving a seven-year sentence on charges of abuse of office.
He was hostile to her because she would not show him respect and would only deal with Putin personally, the emails say.
The spat between the two ended when Medvedev made a deal with Putin. "Medvedev swore that he would keep [Ukraine's President Viktor] Yanukovych in line if Putin dropped his support of Tymoshenko," reads the email from September 2011.
"Putin agreed in return for being the one to draw up the list of new Ukrainians going into power in the SBU [Ukraine security service], military, ministries, etc. Also that Russia would get the base extension it had been pushing for."
Tymoshenko was sentenced to seven years for abuse of office after the 2009 gas deal with Russia. Her supporters claimed the trial was politically motivated and it was criticised by EU leaders.
The 50-year-old politician was a stern critic of Yanukovych for nearly a decade and co-led the Orange Revolution that prevented him from gaining power in 2004. On that occasion, Ukraine bucked Russian influence in favour of building closer links with the West but in 2010 Yanukovych won the election and Tymoshenko became opposition leader.
The Global Intelligence Files published by WikiLeaks show that Russia's main political leaders may be behind the scenes of Tymoshenko's fall.
"When Timoshenko and Yanukovych showed up in Moscow at the end of 2009, [Medvedev and Putin] broke the news to Yanukovych privately that they were willing to drop support for Timoshenko if he would agree to Putin's list of demands. Yanukovych jumped all over it, naturally," reads the email.
However, the senior diplomat expresses concerns that Yanukovych "may be overstepping his bounds with the Kremlin". He was heavily criticised by the European Union for the jailing of Tymoshenko and many diplomats have called off high-level talks with him in protest.
Yanukovych has denied accusations that he organised the trial against Tymoshenko to rid himself of a political rival. Stratfor's emails reveal that Putin "has snapped the leash on Medvedev to fix this".
"It is kind of a test for Medvedev. This is why the railing against Ukraine has come from Medvedev, not Putin. Question is which lever Medvedev will pull to get Yanukovich back in line," reads the email.