Jailed Tymoshenko fit to leave hospital: ministry

Ukraine's jailed former prime minister Yulia Tymoshenko is now fit to leave the civilian hospital where she has spent the last nine months with back problems, the health ministry said Friday, paving the way for her return to prison.

A medical commission "has concluded that the patient Y. Tymoshenko no longer needs further treatment or rehabilitation in hospital," the ministry said in a statement.

Tymoshenko, 52, has been in prison since August 2011 but was moved in May last year from her Kharkiv prison to hospital because she was in acute pain from a herniated disc.

The charismatic figurehead of the 2004 Orange Revolution was convicted of abuse of power and jailed for seven years in 2011 after losing a 2010 presidential race to Viktor Yanukovych.

She is currently on trial on separate charges of fraud and tax evasion and was also charged in January with ordering the 1996 gangland-style shooting of a lawmaker.

Her imprisonment has provoked a serious rift between Ukraine and the European Union, which has called the charges against her politically motivated.