Support The Moscow Times!

Tymoshenko Moved to Hospital After Ukraine Cancels Summit

KHARKIV, Ukraine — Ukrainian opposition leader Yulia Tymoshenko was moved to a local hospital in a high-security police convoy Wednesday, a day after the controversy over her imprisonment caused President Viktor Yanukovych to cancel a summit.

Yanukovych has faced growing criticism over the conviction of Tymoshenko — and the authorities’ refusal to let her travel abroad for treatment for chronic back pain.

Her transfer from prison in the eastern city of Kharkiv to a nearby hospital for treatment under the supervision of German doctors was worked out last week in a compromise.

But Wednesday’s early morning transfer seemed unlikely to relieve pressure on Yanukovych. Tymoshenko, a former prime minister, was jailed last October for seven years for alleged abuse of power while in office, a charge she denied. Her daughter, Yevhenia, said Tuesday that her mother had agreed under the supervision of a German doctor in a local hospital to end a hunger strike started April 20.

Eyewitnesses in Kharkiv said Tymoshenko was brought to a side entrance of the hospital by an ambulance on Wednesday morning in a heavily guarded convoy that included several police cars.

Two lines of white-coated hospital staff shielded her as she was carried into the hospital on a stretcher, preventing journalists and onlookers catching a glimpse of her.

A few supporters nearby shouted out “Freedom for Yulia!”

The state prison service, in a statement, confirmed she had been moved to the hospital “for the course of rehabilitation recommended by the international medical commission.”

Yanukovych appeared placid and untroubled at World War II Victory Day celebrations on Wednesday, despite the growing political pressure.

Addressing war veterans in Kiev, he spoke of the need to defend world peace by shunning “populism of all types,” but remained silent about Tymoshenko.

In an embarrassing setback on Tuesday, he called off an informal summit meeting in Yalta of Central and Eastern European leaders after several of them said they were staying away because of the Tymoshenko affair.

He quickly drew fire for this from other opposition figures.

Arseny Yatsenyuk, leader of the Front of Change party, said cancellation of the Yalta meeting amounted to a “shameful failure” for Ukraine.

“This leadership is dragging the country and its people with it into international isolation,” he said, Interfax reported.

Vitaly Klitschko, world heavyweight boxing champion who heads the Udar party, said: “The leadership clearly has no wish to change the situation and meet calls by Kiev’s European partners to respect human rights and democratic standards.”

Meanwhile, an EU diplomat said he expected EU foreign ministers to “harmonize and coordinate” strategy toward Ukraine at a meeting in Brussels on Monday.

… we have a small favor to ask. As you may have heard, The Moscow Times, an independent news source for over 30 years, has been unjustly branded as a "foreign agent" by the Russian government. This blatant attempt to silence our voice is a direct assault on the integrity of journalism and the values we hold dear.

We, the journalists of The Moscow Times, refuse to be silenced. Our commitment to providing accurate and unbiased reporting on Russia remains unshaken. But we need your help to continue our critical mission.

Your support, no matter how small, makes a world of difference. If you can, please support us monthly starting from just $2. It's quick to set up, and you can be confident that you're making a significant impact every month by supporting open, independent journalism. Thank you.

paiment methods
Not ready to support today?
Remind me later.

Read more