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Tymoshenko leaves jail for hospital

Former Ukraine prime minister Yulia Tymoshenko has been moved from prison to a hospital for treatment for a severe back condition under the supervision of a German doctor.

The move is likely to allay at least some Western concerns over her health and treatment in prison.

Kiev has come under intense pressure to provide Ms Tymoshenko with suitable medical care.

The 51-year-old has been on hunger strike for more than two weeks in protest at alleged abuse.

Deputy Health Minister Raisa Moiseyenko said that Ms Tymoshenko had been moved from Kharkiv prison to a local clinic.

Ms Tymoshenko - Ukraine's top opposition leader - has been sentenced to seven years in jail for abuse of office.

The West has condemned the verdict as politically motivated.

Dr Lutz Harms, a neurologist with Berlin's Charite clinic, will supervise Ms Tymoshenko's treatment at the hospital because she does not trust government-controlled doctors.

Ms Moiseyenko said she hoped the treatment would prompt Ms Tymoshenko to end her hunger strike.

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 co-operation summit this weekend after most heads of central and eastern European states cancelled their visits over the Tymoshenko case.

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