Ukraine's president has rejected the idea of letting ailing ex-premier Yulia Tymoshenko be freed from jail for treatment abroad ahead of next month's Euro football tournament.
Germany has offered to treat the 51-year- old and hinted of a boycott by Chancellor Angela Merkel of games in Ukraine after Euro 2012 kicks off in co-host Poland on June 8.
President Viktor Yanukovych told national TV that pro-government deputies are firmly against the idea of changing Ukrainian laws to let convicts be treated abroad.
"If they suddenly adopt this law, only imagine - thousands of convicts with money will begin corrupting the medical profession," Tymoshenko's arch-rival said.
Tymoshenko, leader of the 2004 Orange Revolution, started a seven-year term in October on abuse of power charges she claims are part of a political vendetta by Yanukovych.
European Union leaders have rallied to her cause, with some vowing to skip all football events hosted by Ukraine. The spat has halted the former Soviet state's bid for EU membership, pushing it closer to Moscow.