KIEV - Ukraine's jailed opposition leader Yulia Tymoshenko, whose plight in prison has soured relations between the country's leadership and the West, was moved to a local hospital on Wednesday in a high-security police convoy.

Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovich has faced growing criticism over the conviction of Tymoshenko - and the authorities' refusal to let her travel abroad for treatment for chronic back pain.

Her transfer from prison in the eastern city of Kharkiv to a nearby hospital for treatment under the supervision of German doctors was worked out last week in a compromise.

But Wednesday's early morning transfer seemed unlikely to relieve pressure on Yanukovich who has been thrown on the back-foot by sharp Western criticism of his treatment of his rival.

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