KHARKIV, Ukraine — Yulia Tymoshenko ended a nearly three-week long hunger strike Wednesday as the imprisoned former Ukrainian prime minister was moved from jail to a hospital for treatment of a severe back condition under the supervision of a German doctor.

The news was likely to allay at least some Western concerns over Tymoshenko's health and handling in prison.

EU officials and some governments from the 27-nation bloc have vowed to boycott the European Championship soccer tournament, which begins in June and is co-hosted by Ukraine and Poland. Ukraine had to cancel a regional cooperation summit this weekend after most heads of central and eastern European states canceled their visits because of the Tymoshenko case. Brussels also suggested Wednesday that Ukraine's prime minister was not welcome at an event he planned to attend next week.

Tymoshenko, 51, the country's top opposition leader, had been on hunger since April 27 to protest alleged abuse. Ukraine's government has come under intense Western pressure to provide Tymoshenko with suitable medical care.

Deputy Health Minister Raisa Moiseyenko said Tymoshenko was moved from her prison in Kharkiv to a local clinic Wednesday morning. Dr. Lutz Harms, a neurologist with Berlin's Charite clinic, will supervise her treatment at the hospital because Tymoshenko doesn't trust government-controlled doctors.

Harms told the Channel 5 television channel that Tymoshenko has ended her hunger strike and was slowly returning to a normal diet. He said she would first take only water and juice and then gradually add solid foods.

Tymoshenko has been sentenced in October to seven years in prison on charges of abuse of office while conducting natural gas import negotiations with Russia in 2009. The West has condemned the verdict as politically motivated and has piled pressure on Ukraine to free her and end the alleged mistreatment.

Tymoshenko denies the charges and accuses her longtime foe, President Viktor Yanukovych, of throwing her in jail in order to bar her from October parliamentary elections. Tymoshenko was a leader of the 2004 Orange Revolution protests that forced the annulment of a fraud-plagued presidential election in which Yanukovych registered the most votes.

She became prime minister after Viktor Yushchenko won the court-ordered rerun of the election. But chronic squabbling between her and Yushchenko soured voters on the Western-leaning government and she narrowly lost to Yanukovych in the 2010 presidential election.

Tymoshenko also faces other criminal charges and investigations, some relating to her activity about 15 years ago. Three senior members of her government have also been imprisoned on corruption and abuse-of-office charges – condemned as politically motivated by the West.

Brussels and Washington have long pushed Yanukovych to free Tymoshenko, but photos of bruises on her body that appear to corroborate her claim that she was beaten by prison officials shocked the West and led to vows to boycott the soccer matches.

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Associated Press writers Maria Danilova in Kiev, Ukraine, and Raf Casert in Brussels, contributed to this report.

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  • Ukraine's former prime minister Yulia Tymoshenko speaks to press in front of a court building in Kiev on on August 5, 2011, moments before she was arrested. A Kiev court placed former Ukrainian prime minister Yulia Tymoshenko under arrest, amid her trial on charges of abuse of power while in office, an AFP correspondent reported.(Getty)

  • Supporters of Ukraine's former prime minister Yulia Tymoshenko cheer and shout slogans in front of the Pechersk district court on August 8, 2011 in Kiev as Tymoshenko's return to trial today on charges of abuse of power over gas deals she signed with Russia in 2009. (Getty)

  • A supporter of detained Ukrainian opposition leader Yulia Tymoshenko demonstrates with hundreds of people in Kiev on August 24, 2011, trying to march to the offices of President Viktor Yanukovych and defying a court ban to stage a tense protest on Independence Day. A Kiev court banned the day before the protest which is being held to mark the 20th anniversary of the Ukrainian parliament's declaration of independence from the Soviet Union. (Getty)

  • A Ukrainian opposition lawmaker stands on September 6, 2011 next to a giant poster, featuring former Ukrainian Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko with the slogan, reading: 'No political repression,' in the parliament while President Viktor Yanukovych addresses the floor during a ceremony marking the opening of a new parliament session in Kiev. Tymoshenko's supporters argue her ongoing trial on abuse of power charges and her arrest are part of a vendetta pursued by the Regions Party of Yanukovych against her faction. (Getty)

  • A huge poster placed by opposition lawmakers, featuring former Ukrainian Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko with slogans, reading: 'No political repression' and 'Free Ukraine!' covers a part of the Ukrainian Parliament while President Viktor Yanukovych addresses the floor on September 6, 2011 during a ceremony marking the opening of a new parliament session in Kiev. (Getty Images)

  • Police officers block on September 27, 2011 supporters of former Ukrainian Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko in front of the Pechersk district court in Kiev. Ukraine began final hearings on September 27 in the trial of Tymoshenko after a two-week suspension that saw Kiev come under renewed EU pressure to release the opposition leader and ex-premier. Tymoshenko's abuse of power trial has set the current leadership at odds with the European Union in the heat of crunch negotiations on Ukraine taking the first step towards European Union membership. (Getty)

  • Riot policemen block supporters of former Ukrainian Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko in front of the Pechersk district court in Kiev on September 27, 2011. Ukrainian prosecutors today demanded a seven-year sentence for opposition leader and ex-premier Yulia Tymoshenko in an abuse of power trial that has undermined Kiev's budding relations with the EU. (Getty )

  • An elderly woman, supporter of the former Prime Minister of Ukraine Yulia Tymoshenko holds placards with her portraits during a protest in front of Pechersk district court in Kiev on September 28, 2011. (Getty )

  • A woman, supporter of former Prime Minister of Ukraine Yulia Tymoshenko, shouts slogans before a line of police in front of Pechersk district court in Kiev on September 30, 2011. The court on Friday announced the judge will start reading the verdict on Tymoshenko's case from October 11. (Getty)

  • A protester forms a heart shape with his hands as he demonstrates his support for Yulia Tymoshenko outside the court where she is being tried, after breaking a police cordon, in Kiev, on September 30, 2011. (Getty)

  • A police vehicle supposedly carrying Ukraine's former prime minister Yulia Tymoshenko leaves the Pechersk district court in Kiev on September 30, 2011. (Getty)

  • Supporters of the former Prime Minister of Ukraine Yulia Tymoshenko shout slogans in front of Pechersk district court in Kiev on September 30, 2011. (Getty)

  • Supporters of the former Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko breal a police line in front of Pechersk district court in Kiev on November 11, 2011. (Getty )

  • Ukraine's former Yulia Tymoshenko (L), her daughter Yevgenia and husband Alexander react after Judge Rodion Kireyev of the Kiev Pechersky court rendered his verdict on her case on October 11, 2011. Tymoshenko was sentenced to seven years in jail for abusing her powers in a 2009 gas deal with Russia, a verdict that is set to harm ties with the European Union. Kireyev said the 10-year contract for gas imports from Russia had sustained heavy losses for Ukraine and ruled that her actions were criminal. AFP PHOTO / SERGEI SUPINSKY (Photo credit should read SERGEI SUPINSKY/AFP/Getty Images)

  • Riot policemen block supporters of former Ukrainian Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko (appearing on a poster) in front of Pechersk district court in Kiev on October 11, 2011.(Getty)

  • Lawyer Mykola Siryi (L) looks at his client Yulia Tymoshenko in court in Kiev on October 11, 2011. A Ukrainian judge on Tuesday sentenced former prime minister Yulia Tymoshenko to seven years in jail for abusing her powers in a 2009 gas deal with Russia, a verdict that is set to harm ties with the European Union. Amid emotional scenes in the packed court, judge Rodion Kireyev said the 10 year contract for gas imports from Russia had sustained heavy losses for Ukraine and ruled that her actions were criminal. (Getty)

  • Ukraine's former Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko listens as Judge Rodion Kireyev of the Kiev Pechersky court reads his verdict on her case on October 11, 2011. (Getty)

  • Policemen escort Ukraine's former Yulia Tymoshenko out of the court after Judge Rodion Kireyev of the Kiev Pechersky court rendered his verdict on her case on October 11, 2011. (Getty)

  • Ukraine's former Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko (L), her daughter Yevgenia and husband Alexander react after Judge Rodion Kireyev of the Kiev Pechersky court rendered his verdict on her case on October 11, 2011. (Getty)

  • Special police hold back the crowd of journalists trying to go to Kiev Pechersky court to cover Yulia Tymoshenko verdict reading in Kiev on October 11, 2011. (Getty Images)

  • Pro-Yulia Tymoshenko protesters demonstrate their support as they sit and shout slogans outside the court. (Getty)

  • Supporters of the former Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko break a police line in front of Pechersk district court in Kiev on October 11, 2011. (Getty Images)