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Jailed Ukrainian Opposition Leader Needs Operation, Daughter Says

KIEV — Jailed former Ukrainian Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko could become disabled unless she gets an urgent operation for a back problem, her daughter Yevgenia said Monday.

Tymoshenko's German doctors have recommended an operation in the very near future, warning that otherwise their patient could become disabled, Yevgenia said, adding that the recommendations were made several days ago.

She said her mother is no longer capable of moving around on her own, even with a walker.

Tymoshenko's family and lawyers are demanding that the operation be carried out without delay in a Berlin clinic, she told the UNIAN news agency.

On Friday, German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle said his country was in talks with Ukraine over a German proposal to treat Tymoshenko for her health problems in Berlin. He said he had met with President Viktor Yanukovych but declined to provide details of the president's response to the offer.

Tymoshenko is currently serving a seven-year sentence for exceeding her authority in signing a gas purchase contract with Russia in 2009. She has also been accused of ordering the murder of a local politician in 1996, for which she could be sentenced to life. She has been undergoing hospital treatment for over a year while in custody.

Tymoshenko was one of the key architects of Ukraine's 2004 Orange Revolution, in which the opposition protested and eventually overturned the election of President Yanukovych in 2004. She and her supporters claim the investigations into her are part of a political witch hunt by Yanukovych, who she says wants to prevent her from running in the presidential race in 2015. Yanukovych denies the allegations.

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