Ukraine’s parliament has delayed a vote on a bill that would allow jailed former prime minister Yulia Tymoshenko to go to Germany for medical treatment. Tymoshenko’s supporters in parliament left their seats in anger after the vote was delayed on Wednesday.
The opposition leader is serving a seven-year prison term on charges of abuse of office; the European Union has called her trial politically motivated. Tymoshenko has been a fierce rival of the current President, Vyktor Yanukovich.
She was jailed in 2011 and later transferred to a hospital unit for treatment of chronic back pain.
Her continued detention is an obstacle to a key association deal between Ukraine and the 28-nation EU that was to be signed at a summit in Vilnius later this month.
Moscow has pressured Ukraine not to sign the deal, which would turn the former Soviet republic toward the West and away from Russia.
(Photo of Ukraine’s parliament, the Verkhovna Rada, by Jurij Skoblenko via flickr.com)