Eugenia Tymoshenko, daughter of the jailed Ukrainian former PM and opposition leader Yulia Tymoshenko, addresses supporters in front of a screen displaying her mother on 15 June. Photograph: Valentyn Ogirenko/Reuters
Yulia Tymoshenko, the former Orange Revolution co-leader jailed for abuse of office, could be released from prison this autumn and allowed to travel to Germany for medical treatment under a deal being thrashed out between the Ukrainian authorities and European intermediaries.
The EU has made the solution of the dispute a condition of closer ties with the former Soviet republic.
Tymoshenko is serving a seven-year term for abuse of power concerning energy deals with Russia. She has been in hospital since May 2012 suffering from a spinal hernia. Doctors from the Berlin-based Charite clinic have been involved in her treatment.
Renat Kuzmin, Ukraine's first deputy prosecutor general, said Tymoshenko could be sent to Germany for treatment. "Such a possibility is not prohibited by law," Kuzmin said. "If certain political and legal decisions are taken, it's possible."
Kuzmin refused to specify the terms under which she could stay in Germany.
European officials have been pushing for a solution, with the affair severely testing ties between Brussels and Kiev.
"There are some plans, certain proposals have been made. Now we are waiting for a response, and we'll see," Alexander Kwasniewski, the European parliament's envoy and a former Polish president, told Polish Radio.
Tymoshenko shot to prominence during the Orange Revolution, the Ukrainian people's uprising against fraudulent elections which ultimately prevented Viktor Yanukovych from assuming the presidency in 2004. Yanukovych defeated Tymoshenko in 2010. Criminal cases against her were opened later that year.
Tymoshenko was jailed in 2011. The case was widely seen as an attempt by Yanukovych to keep his rival out of the 2015 presidential elections.
Insiders claim Tymoshenko has been reluctant to leave Ukraine for treatment because she does not want to desert her power base. They now say she may be about to change her mind.
Tymoshenko's daughter, Eugenia, said she liked the idea of sending her mother for treatment abroad, although she did not know her exact thoughts.
"This decision depends not on us, it depends only on one person – Yanukovych," she said. "But if this decision is made, it doesn't make sense for her to refuse this, because she definitely needs this treatment. This is what I think as a daughter."
Earlier this month, Tymoshenko's health reportedly deteriorated further – doctors have said she needs invasive therapy and probably an operation.
"The Ukrainian doctors take care of her, but they stay under constant pressure and they always have to follow the instructions coming from above," Eugenia Tymoshenko said.
Volodymyr Fesenko, head of the Penta thinktank, said: "It looks like there are preliminary agreements between Tymoshenko and those in power. Now the technical talks are going on."
Fesenko said the chances of a move remained high despite opposition within Yanukovych's inner circle. "I think all will be finally decided at the last moment – sometime in August-September."
Tymoshenko is facing separate charges of fraud and tax evasion. She was also charged in January with allegedly financing the 1996 gangland-style murder of the Ukrainian MP Yevhen Shcherban, for which, if convicted, she could get a life sentence.
"We have enough proof of Tymoshenko's involvement in this crime," Kuzmin said. "It will go to the court, when Tymoshenko at last gets better and the doctors allow her to participate in the investigative actions."
Tymoshenko has branded as absurd any links between her and Shcherban's murder. "When Yanukovych ordered to start political persecutions against me I was joking that soon they will accuse me of murder. Now my joke has become a reality," she wrote in a letter from jail.
Tymoshenko's business career took off in the chaotic 1990s after the collapse of the Soviet Union, earning her the nickname "gas princess" after she became a supremely wealthy energy oligarch.
Ukraine is looking to press further charges against Tymoshenko, dispelling any hopes of a presidential pardon.