The daughter of jailed opposition figurehead Yulia Tymoshenko has said her mother is about to stop a hunger strike as her treatment by a German doctor is about to begin. She said her mother had visibly lost weight.
Yevhenia Tymoshenko said in a Tuesday interview that her mother, former Ukrainian Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko, was ending her 19-day hunger strike.
This followed shortly after the government in Kyiv was forced to cancel plans to host a regional summit after several European leaders, including German President Joachim Gauck, had opted not to attend in protest of Tymoshenko's treatment.
Tymoshenko said her mother had agreed to go to a Ukrainian hospital in Kharkiv, where German physician Lutz Harms could first "begin bringing [her] out of her hunger strike."
"Mama was examined and the diagnosis of the German doctors was that treatment must start immediately, otherwise she could become an invalid," Yevhenia Tymoshenko told reporters. "She, by appearance, has lost 10 kilograms (22lbs), her body temperature has dropped significantly and she is in a faint condition."
Yevhenia said that the hunger strike meant it was impossible to start treatment on her back pain because it could take up to two weeks to recover from the effects of foregoing food. She also said Tymoshenko would again refuse treatment in the event that Ukrainian doctors were to take over her care, "these are the same doctors that have been writing daily reports saying she is healthy."
Tymoshenko was convicted to seven years in prison on charges of signing oil deals with Russia that disadvantaged Ukraine during her time as prime minister. She denies the charges. In April, Tymoshenko said prison guards had beaten her trying to forcibly take her to hospital and soon thereafter, Yevhenia announced that her mother had started to refuse food in protest. The prison wardens in Kharkiv have denied the accusations.
The decision to cancel an international summit on Tuesday cast a further pall over the country's preparations to co-host the Euro 2012 soccer tournament, starting on June 8. All three of the German national team's group phase matches - and the final on July 1 - are scheduled to be played in Ukraine, though Poland are co-hosting the competition.
msh/sej (AFP, dpa, Reuters)