A Ukrainian high court has rejected an appeal by former prime minister Yulia Tymoshenko against her conviction for abuse of office for which she is serving a seven-year prison sentence.
"The judges of the court have reached the conclusion that the appeal cannot be satisfied," judge Olexander Yelfimov told the court.
The European Union and the United States say Tymoshenko's prosecution was politically motivated by President Viktor Yanukovych's leadership and have called for her to be released.
The 51-year-old opposition leader was not present in court because of persistent back trouble which has kept her confined to a state-run hospital in eastern Ukraine.
She was jailed last October in connection with a gas deal which she brokered with Russia in 2009 and which the Kiev government says saddled Ukraine with an exorbitant price for gas imports that weighs heavily on the economy.
In a separate trial, which has been adjourned several times because of her ill health, Tymoshenko is accused of embezzlement and tax evasion going back to alleged offences when she was in business in the 1990s.