KIEV, October 4 (RIA Novosti) - Lawyers for jailed former Ukrainian Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko say she has agreed to undergo medical treatment in Germany in the hope of improving her nation’s ties with the European Union, UNIAN news agency reported Friday.
But the decision on whether to grant her a pardon and allow her to leave the country still lies with her political rival President Viktor Yanukovych, who is attempting to steer Ukraine toward a closer relationship with the EU.
The proposal to seek medical treatment abroad for Tymoshenko came from former European Parliament President Pat Cox and former Polish President Aleksander Kwasniewski, who arrived in Ukraine this week to meet with her, UNIAN reported, citing her lawyer, Serhiy Vlasenko.
Tymoshenko, who came to prominence during the Orange Revolution protests that led to overturning of Yanukovych’s tainted presidential election victory in 2004, has been undergoing treatment in a Kharkiv hospital in eastern Ukraine for over a year while in custody.
Yanukovych’s election win in 2004 was widely believed to have been the outcome of widespread electoral fraud, but he successfully ran for president in 2010 after spending five years among the ranks of the opposition.
In 2011, Tymoshenko was sentenced to seven years in prison on charges of power abuse in a case that many have argued was politically motivated. Kiev denies that charge.
Although Tymoshenko’s plight has drawn much criticism, including from the EU, Yanukovych has recently sought closer cooperation with Brussels. Ukraine eventually aspires to join the EU.
Vlasenko said Cox and Kwasniewski have submitted a written request to Yanukovych for him to pardon the former prime minister in order for her to legally travel abroad.
Tymoshenko suggested in a statement cited by her lawyer that allowing her to leave Ukraine would lay the ground for the success of a planned trade treaty, to be signed next month, between Ukraine and the EU.
"For the sake of the historical and momentous agreement with the EU, I am willing to agree" to medical treatment, Vlasenko quoted his client as saying.
Yevhen Perebyinis, the director of the information policy department with Ukraine’s Foreign Ministry, told RIA Novosti that the government is not holding consultations with German authorities regarding Tymoshenko’s possible medical treatment.
Tymoshenko, who has also been accused of murdering a local politician in 1996, was transferred to a hospital last year after reporting serious back pains. Her daughter, Yevgenia, earlier in the year cited German doctors as saying that her mother could become disabled unless she urgently underwent an operation for her back problems at a Berlin clinic.