Yulia Tymoshenko, the jailed former prime minister of Ukraine, has begun a hunger strike in protest at President Yanukovych’s reluctance to sign a landmark trade agreement with the EU.
Tymoshenko is serving a seven year term which the West considers politically motivated. Her release for urgent back surgery in Germany was one of the conditions set by Brussels as part of the trade deal.
However last week, Tymoshenko said in an open letter that she was ready to ask the EU to drop the demand for her freedom if it meant Yanukovych would sign the deal.
On Monday, Ukrainian opposition leaders were denied access to Tymoshenko in hospital, where she is kept under guard and told that the area was quarantined.