WASHINGTON, DC -- US Senator John McCain Friday said he was "saddened and concerned" over the strengthening of presidential powers in Ukraine, saying the move by the constitutional court had reversed years of progress in the country.
The former 2008 Republican presidential candidate said in a statement that he spoke about the situation by telephone with Ukraine's former pro-western prime minister and now opposition leader Yulia Tymoshenko.
"I am saddened and concerned that today's ruling by Ukraine's Constitutional Court could lead to a harmful centralization of power and a weakening of democracy in Ukraine," said McCain.
"Though Ukraine's steps toward democracy over the past six years have been a work in progress, the court's action today has undone much of that progress and betrayed the promise of the Orange Revolution," he added.
McCain said Tymoshenko "told me of the increasing pressures that Ukraine's peaceful political opposition is facing, especially in the run up to local elections this month.
"I encouraged her to continue working for greater democracy in Ukraine and to convey my support to all of her fellow reformers and civil society advocates."
McCain called on the United States' "transatlantic allies" to support democratic rule in Ukraine.
Ukraine's constitutional court Friday strengthened the powers of President Viktor Yanukovych by annulling 2004 amendments that boosted parliament, sparking opposition claims of creeping authoritarianism.