The German doctor treating Ukraine's ailing ex-premier Yulia Tymoshenko said Tuesday he was returning home after announcing that the opposition leader was halting her treatment in hospital.
German neurologist Lutz Harms said his return had been planned all along and was not directly related to Tymoshenko's decision to refuse further treatment in the state hospital in protest that her rehabilitation programme had been made public.
The 2004 Orange Revolution leader was jailed for seven years on contested charges in October and had agreed to be moved last week for treatment on a bad back that had kept her bed-ridden for months.
Her controversial conviction and earlier hunger strike have significantly strained Ukraine's relations with the European Union and prompted calls for a boycott of the Euro 2012 football matches it co-hosts with Poland next month.
Deputy Health Minister Olexander Tolstanov said Tymoshenko had decided to end her treatment to protest the media's publication of her daily medical routine following its release by the prison authorities.
"Yulia Tymoshenko has refused to undergo the (medical) procedures," Tosltanov told reporters.
The deputy head of the local prison service for his part told local media that Tymoshenko's schedule was not confidential because it did not specify what specific treatment regime was involved.
The German doctors said Tymoshenko had been slowly gaining weight from a hunger strike of nearly three weeks that she began last month after claiming to have been beaten by her prison guards.
But Harms added that "because of the developments and constant monitoring, treatment has become problematic."
He insisted however that his return to Germany had been planned in advance.
"My (German) replacement has already been planned," said Harms.
"We have a rotation system," he added without specifying when he planned to return.