KIEV, Ukraine (AP) — Ukraine's jailed former Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko has declared a hunger strike to press the government to sign a landmark deal with the European Union.
Tymoshenko's lawyer, Serhiy Vlasenko, announced the decision Monday at a protest against the government's move to shelve the association and trade deal with the EU and forge closer ties with Russian instead.
The EU considers Tymoshenko's imprisonment politically motivated and has warned it will not sign the deal unless Tymoshenko is freed. It is not her first hunger strike.
Ukraine' President Viktor Yanukovych has resisted the EU pressure, apparently fearing that Tymoshenko, whom he closely defeated in the 2010 vote, would challenge him again in the 2015 presidential election
Last week, Tymoshenko said in an open letter she was ready to ask the EU to drop the demand for her release if it can help persuade Yanukovych to sign the deal.