Former Ukrainian Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko, jailed for abuse of office and serving seven year imprisonment term, has declared an indefinite hunger strike in the Kachanivska penal colony.
"It is a protest against what is happening in the country and personally to her," Tymoshenko's defense lawyer Serhiy Vlasenko told a briefing near the colony on Tuesday.

He read out an appeal by Tymoshenko on seven pages. "I'm refusing to take food as a sign of protest," Vlasenko said, citing Tymoshenko.

In her inquiry Yulia Tymoshenko claimed she was forced to go to the Kharkiv hospital on April 20 and that she was punched by prison officials after her refusal to go on her own.

The prosecutor of Kharkiv region Hennadiy Tiurin has admitted that former Ukrainian Premier was transported from the Kachanivska Colony to the Central Clinical Hospital by force, but denied any violence.

"A person took her things, she got dressed, but then laid on the bed and said, 'I won't go anywhere.' According to the law, the penitentiary service has a right to apply force, so we took her, carried her to the car and transported her to the hospital," the prosecutor said.

"In her statement, announced by the defense lawyer, Yulia Volodymyrivna notes that prison officials applied physical violence to her, in particular they punched her in the stomach and twisted her arms and legs. Nothing of the kind happened. She was transported by medical workers. Colony officials were only accompanying. And she was carried only when she could not walk by herself, at the staircase for example," deputy head of the colony Ihor Kolpashchikov added in his turn.

The official also stressed that if Tymoshenko's defense continues distributing false statements regarding the Penitentiary Service, the department will appeal to court.

"All these statements about the Penitentiary Service obstruct the principle activity of the colony, which is punishment, improvement and so on, but not what we are doing now. If this continues we'll have no choice but to lodge a lawsuit on obstruction of activity," Kolpashchikov said.

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