BERLIN - Germany is deeply concerned about reports that Ukraine's former prime minister Yulia Tymoshenko was beaten by guards during her forced move to hospital last Friday, government spokesman Steffen Seibert said on Wednesday.

"If these reports [of physical force] are true then this behavior by the Ukrainian penitential authorities is unacceptable and completely disproportionate," he told a news conference in Berlin.

Tymoshenko's lawyer said the former premier had begun a hunger strike.

"Given her poor health you can imagine that a hunger strike would have a major impact. This is why it is more important than ever to allow her to have appropriate medical treatment," said Seibert. "Germany's offer to treat her here stands."

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