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Jailed Opposition Leader Tymoshenko Ends Hunger Strike

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Jailed Ukrainian opposition leader Yulia Tymoshenko has ended a 12-day hunger strike she staged in protest against Ukraine’s failure to sign a planned trade deal with the European Union, her daughter Yevhenia told reporters Friday.

MOSCOW, December 6 (RIA Novosti) – Jailed Ukrainian opposition leader Yulia Tymoshenko has ended a 12-day hunger strike she staged in protest against Ukraine’s failure to sign a planned trade deal with the European Union, her daughter Yevhenia told reporters Friday. 

“She said that she would end the hunger strike today at the request of the people, since she was striking as a sign of solidarity with them,” Ukraine’s UNIAN news agency quoted Yevhenia Tymoshenko as saying. 

She said she had visited her mother in the hospital Friday to relay a public request by Oleksandr Turchinov, an opposition politician and ally of the jailed ex-prime minister, to end the hunger strike.

Tymoshenko, 53, who was convicted of abuse of power in 2011 and sentenced to seven years in prison over a gas deal with Russia, has been receiving medical treatment in Ukraine’s Kharkiv hospital since May for severe back pain. 

Her daughter said Friday that she is no longer able to move without help.   

Tymoshenko began her hunger strike on November 25 to protest Ukraine’s abrupt decision to abandon a long-awaited landmark trade deal with the EU, which was planned to be inked at a partnership summit in Vilnius in late November. Ukraine’s government said it would instead focus on strengthening its ties with Moscow, which had repeatedly warned its smaller neighbor against signing the EU agreements and had threatened it with stricter customs procedures if it went ahead with the deal.

The freeing of Tymoshenko was an EU precondition for Kiev to be able to sign the agreements. But laws to enable Tymoshenko to leave the country for medical treatment in Germany were thrown out last month by Ukraine’s parliament.

The Ukrainian government’s decision to postpone signing the EU agreements sparked a wave of protests that have drawn hundreds of thousands of pro-Western demonstrators onto the streets of Kiev and other cities in Ukraine. The protests continued Friday.

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