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Jailed Former Ukrainian PM 'Needs Surgery,' Ex-Minister Says

Yulia Tymoshenko with her daughter Yevgenia and husband Oleksandr during a court session in October.
Yulia Tymoshenko with her daughter Yevgenia and husband Oleksandr during a court session in October.
KYIV -- A former health minister says jailed former Ukrainian Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko almost certainly needs surgery, RFE/RL's Ukrainian Service reports.

Mykola Polischuk told RFE/RL on December 1 that he had examined the X-rays and medical notes taken during Tymoshenko's medical examination last week at a Kyiv regional hospital.

Polischuk, who is a neurosurgeon, did not disclose the diagnosis for which Tymoshenko, 51, needs treatment, but said surgery is needed in most such cases. He said this can be performed at any specialized neurosurgical institution after a personal check-up and with the consent of the patient.

Tymoshenko's lawyers say she is suffering from severe back pain, has bruises of unknown origin, recently experienced numbness in her left hand, and has nosebleeds.

She was not able to attend the preliminary appeal hearing in her case on December 1.

Judge Olena Sitaylo overturned her lawyers' request to free Tymoshenko due to her illness and scheduled the next hearing for December 13.

The hearing was interrupted when an ambulance was called to treat Sitaylo, who herself felt unwell.

On November 29, the State Penitentiary Service announced that Tymoshenko had been transferred to the detention center's medical unit and was being given full medical care.

Tymoshenko, who was prime minister in 2005 and from 2007-10, was arrested in August and sentenced in October to seven years in prison for abuse of office in signing a gas deal with Russia.

Tymoshenko, her supporters, and many foreign politicians say the charges against her are politically motivated and she should be released from jail.

RFE/RL has been declared an "undesirable organization" by the Russian government.

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