Ukraine’s Tymoshenko Now In ‘Increased Pain’

KHARKIV, Ukraine -- Jailed Ukrainian opposition leader Yulia Tymoshenko is in “increased pain” following her two-week hunger strike, but is too weak to receive full-scale treatment, her doctor said yesterday.

A screen capture of Yulia Tymoshenko from a late-September video.

The jailed former prime minister, however, pledged to continue her protest against alleged fraud in polls won by the party of arch rival President Viktor Yanukovych.

In a statement read out to journalists by her daughter Yevgenia, the opposition leader said that she would “continue fighting the corrupt regime of Yanukovych in every other way.

“I see that I have reached the goal for which I started the hunger strike,” her statement said.

“Nobody can consider this Verkhovna Rada (Parliament) legitimate and democratically-elected anymore,” she said.

Tymoshenko, serving a seven-year sentence for abuse of power while in office, is currently facing a second trial on new charges of embezzlement and tax evasion, but the hearings have been repeatedly delayed due to her health condition, with the new date set for November 23.

Tymoshenko, who took her first sips of fruit juice late Thursday, appeared “rather depressed” to doctors visiting her from Germany, who said her medical condition was aggravated by her protest.

“The hunger strike process brought a rather negative effect on her pain symptoms, and the pain has now increased considerably,” said doctor Lutz Harms, who is in Kharkiv to treat Tymoshenko.

“Currently she is beginning rehabilitation procedures, but the scope of these procedures will be very limited, because she is very weak... and her body will not be responding to drugs very well,” he told journalists outside the clinic in Kharkiv, where the 2004 Orange Revolution leader is being treated.

Tymoshenko has been since this summer in the hospital, where she was moved from her prison cell following complaints of back pain.

She continues to serve out her controversial seven-year sentence.

Observers from the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe cited Tymoshenko’s detention as one of the reasons why “democratic progress appears to have reversed” in Ukraine’s October 28 parliamentary elections.

Tymoshenko has branded her prosecution a political vendetta on the part of her rival President Viktor Yanukovych.

She decided to stop her hunger strike after consulting with German doctors, and Harms said yesterday that her rehabilitation will take about two weeks.

Source: AFP