Imprisoned former Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko did not appear for a hearing of an appeal of her seven-year sentence, claiming health problems.
Tymoshenko in October was found guilty of abuse of office while negotiating a gas contract with Russia in 2009 in a case the West has condemned as politically motivated.
Tymoshenko is appealing the verdict, saying her longtime foe President Viktor Yanukovych has ordered her imprisonment in order to bar her from politics.
Tymoshenko remained in her jail cell Tuesday. The judge in the hearing read a letter from her saying she was unable to attend because of severe back pain. She has been bedridden for weeks, but she says authorities are denying her proper medical treatment.
The EU has threatened to scrap cooperation with Ukraine if Tymoshenko remains in jail.