Russian leader Vladimir Putin said on Thursday that his country was willing to accept jailed former Ukrainian premier Yulia Tymoshenko for medical treatment, amid growing EU anger over her case.
"If she considers this possible and if the Ukrainian authorities, our Ukrainian partners agree to it, we would with pleasure accept Yulia Vladimirovna Tymoshenko in Russia for treatment at any time," Putin said.
He also warned against any link between her case and Ukraine's hosting of Euro 2012 football games in June, after a string of EU officials and leaders said that they would be shunning the events.
"I believe that under no circumstances can one mix politics, business and other such issues with sport," Putin, who will be inaugurated on May 7 as president, said in comments broadcast on state television.
"One has to leave sports alone," he said, adding that he subscribed to the principle "sports is above politics."
Germany had made a similar offer to host Tymoshenko for medical treatment which so far has not interested the Ukrainian government.
Tymoshenko was jailed for seven years in October on charges of abusing her powers when she was prime minister, in agreeing with Putin in early 2009 a deal for Russian gas imports to Ukraine.© ANP/AFP