Ukraine ex-PM Tymoshenko to leave prison for treatment
Ukraine's former Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko will be allowed to leave prison to receive medical treatment for a back problem, officials say.
She will be treated at a special clinic near her prison in the western city of Kharkiv, the prosecutors' office said.
Ms Tymoshenko, 50, a fierce critic of President Viktor Yanukovych, was sentenced to seven years in jail last October for abuse of power.
The case has strained relations between Ukraine and the EU.
The former prime minister, who is famous for her role in the 2004 Orange Revolution, is suffering from a herniated disc, her family says.
Ms Tymoshenko had refused treatment from Ukrainian doctors and was examined by German doctors last month, who said she was suffering from intense pain and required care in a specialised clinic.
The German government has reportedly been in talks with the Ukrainian authorities to allow Ms Tymoshenko to be treated in Berlin.
But Yuri Boichenko, of Ukraine's prosecutors' office, confirmed on Monday that Ms Tymoshenko would be treated at a specialised medical clinic in Kharkiv, the Associated Press reports.
Her lawyer, Sergei Vlasenko, has reacted with scepticism, the AP says. He said Ms Tymoshenko would only agree to go to the Kharkiv clinic if the treatment is approved by the German doctors.
Last November, the Ukrainian authorities said medical tests had showed she had no life-threatening medical condition - findings her lawyer said at the time could not be trusted.New charges
Her conviction of abuse of power relates to a 10-year gas deal with Russia she signed in 2009, when she was still prime minister.
Prosecutors said Mrs Tymoshenko did not have cabinet approval to sign, and the deal was ruinous for the Ukrainian economy.
She denies wrongdoing but lost an appeal against the verdict in December. She says her trial was political revenge by President Yanukovych, a former rival.
EU and other Western countries countries say the investigations against her are politically motivated.
Observers believe the issue has overshadowed talks on a landmark cooperation deal between Ukraine and the EU.
She is currently serving her sentence in Kachanivska prison, in the eastern city of Kharkiv, having been moved there from a Kiev detention centre in December.
On Thursday, prosecutors announced new charges against her of tax evasion and the misappropriation of public funds during her time as head of the United Energy Systems of Ukraine in 1997-8.
She strongly denies the new allegations, and her lawyer called them politically motivated.