President Viktor Yushchenko on Tuesday accused his former Orange Revolution ally Yulia Tymoshenko of having used her post as prime minister to try to settle old business debts.
"The behavior that Yulia Volodymyrovna demonstrated in government, and the circle of her allies, were formed on the basis of her interests," Yushchenko said in an interview with The Associated Press five days after he dismissed Tymoshenko and her Cabinet.
Still, he said, he would welcome Tymoshenko back to government if she were to return to the principles of the Orange Revolution, which he alleged she had abandoned, the AP reports.
"I think if we return to the values that we talked about on the (Independence) square, but not the adventurism which the government has carried out, I will extend my hand to anyone," he said in response to Tymoshenko's prediction that her party would win March parliamentary elections and land her back in the prime minister's seat.
Yushchenko acknowledged his falling popularity, attributing it to a combination of the free press, a functioning democracy that allows for free expression, and the high expectations the Orange Revolution awakened in Ukrainians.
"It's because what the people expected is far from fulfilled," Yushchenko said, adding that rooting out corruption was the biggest obstacle he faced.