This Summer's European football Championship in Ukraine is likely to become the target of protests by political opponents of the country's President, the daughter of the imprisoned former Prime Minister has said.
Speaking in London, Eugenia Tymoshenko said the tournament in June will be targeted by those angry at what they see as anti-democratic moves by President Viktor Yanukovych.
"The tournament is going to be met with many protests. The whole process will be spoiled by the protests of Ukrainians," she said, adding: "Politics and sport should be kept separate but, unfortunately, I cannot see how that is to be compatible with the way the government is trying to deal with their opponents."
She announced that her mother Yulia Tymoshenko's health has deteriorated as she serves a seven-year sentence for abusing her power by overpaying for Russian gas while serving as Prime Minister. The 31-year-old Eugenia, who has until recently shied away from public life, said that German and Canadian diplomats arranged for German doctors to diagnose her mother. They say the 51-year-old former Prime Minister will require back surgery.
Her daughter's marriage to British rock musician Sean Carr recently ended and was said to have suffered from the strain of Eugenia's fight to clear her mother's name. She was sentenced in October last year. The EU warned the Ukrainian government that it believed the trial to be politically motivated and that planned agreements on political association and free trade may rest on her being freed.
Eugenia revealed she hopes to set up a meeting with Foreign Secretary William Hague to raise the issue.