Ex-Ukraine PM Tymoshenko ends hunger strike
KHARKIV, Ukraine – The German doctor treating imprisoned former Ukrainian Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko says she has ended a hunger strike that lasted more than two weeks.
Lutz Harms, a neurologist supervising Tymoshenko's treatment for back problems, told Ukraine's Channel 5 television that she ended the hunger strike after being transferred from a prison to a hospital in the city of Kharkiv.
The news was likely to allay at least some Western concerns over Tymoshenko's health and handling in prison.
Top European Union officials have vowed to boycott the European football championship matches co-hosted by Ukraine in June because of the case against Tymoshenko, which many believe was politically motivated.
THIS IS A BREAKING NEWS UPDATE. Check back soon for further information. AP's earlier story is below.
KHARKIV, Ukraine (AP) — Yulia Tymoshenko, Ukraine's imprisoned former prime minister, was moved Wednesday from jail to a hospital for treatment of a severe back condition under the supervision of a German doctor.
The move was likely to allay at least some Western concerns over Tymoshenko's health and handling in prison. Top EU officials and some EU governments have vowed to boycott the European football championship matches co-hosted by Ukraine in June, and Ukraine had to cancel a regional cooperation summit this weekend after most heads of central and eastern European states canceled their visits over the Tymoshenko case.
Tymoshenko, 51, the country's top opposition leader, has been on hunger strike for more than two weeks to protest alleged abuse, and Ukraine's government has come under intense Western pressure to provide Tymoshenko with suitable medical care.
Deputy Health Minister Raisa Moiseyenko said Tymoshenko was moved from her prison in Kharkiv to a local clinic Wednesday morning. Dr. Lutz Harms, a neurologist with Berlin's Charite clinic, will supervise her treatment at the hospital because Tymoshenko does not trust government-controlled doctors.
Moiseyenko said she hopes the hospitalization and treatment will prompt Tymoshenko to end her hunger strike.
Tymoshenko has been sentenced to seven years in prison on charges of abuse of office while conducting natural gas import negotiations with Russia in 2009. The West has condemned the verdict as politically motivated and has piled pressure on Ukraine to free her and end the alleged mistreatment.