KIEV, Ukraine -- Jailed former Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko is asking the European Union to continue working with Ukraine despite its disapproval of her 7-year sentence.

The United States and the EU have harshly condemned Tymoshenko's sentence on abuse-of-office charges last month as politically motivated. Brussels has indicated it may refuse to sign a landmark association agreement with Kiev if Tymoshenko is not released.

Tymoshenko urged EU leaders in a letter from jail Wednesday to approve the agreement because breaking ties with the West would be a "tragedy that would darken Ukraine's future for decades to come."

Tymoshenko has appealed the verdict, but the appeals process may take months.