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Human rights activists fail to convince Ukraine’s ex-pilot Savchenko to end hunger strike

March 02, 2015, 18:33 UTC+3 MOSCOW
One of the members of presidential council for civil society and human rights says Savchenko, who has been on a hunger strike since December 15 is in a "moderately severe" condition
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© Mikhail Pochuyev/TASS

MOSCOW, March 2. /TASS/. Human rights activists have failed to convince former Ukraine pilot Nadezhda Savchenko, imprisoned on charges of aiding the killing of Russian journalists in eastern Ukraine, to end her hunger strike that has been lasting for almost three months.

"She continues her hunger strike," said Mikhail Fedotov, the head of the presidential council for civil society and human rights, who visited Savchenko at Moscow’s Matrosskaya Tishina pre-trial detention facility.

Fedotov has called for placing Savchenko under house arrest.

The head of Russia’s Investigative Committee, Alexander Bastrykin, has not yet responded to the request.

Another member of the council Elizaveta Glinka, known as Dr. Lisa, said Savchenko is in a "moderately severe" condition.

"She is feeling bad and is complaining of weakness, chill and getting drowsy. She is receiving medication supporting her life," said Glinka, stressing that Savchenko is not getting adequate nutrition.

Savchenko, who has been detained since last summer, declared an indefinite hunger strike on December 15.

Last week, council member Yelena Masyuk, who had visited Savchenko many times, said the woman could die within days. Russia's federal penitentiary service (FSIN) later rejected the statement.

The FSIN said Savchenko was in "stable and satisfactory condition", adding that the Ukrainian had been under the watchful care of physicians and received supporting therapy since she went on hunger strike in mid-December.

Overnight to Saturday, media reports said that Savchenko had allegedly died. However, the penitentiary service later flatly denied the reports. A source in Russia’s law enforcement agencies dismissed the reports as provocation aimed at destabilizing the situation in the country.

Savchenko is charged with complicity in the killing of two Russian journalists in eastern Ukraine last summer in line of duty committed by a group of individuals with a "socially dangerous method" and a "political hatred motive."

Russian investigators say that Savchenko, the gunner of a Mi-24 helicopter, joined the notorious Aidar battalion during combat operations in the much-troubled Luhansk region of Ukraine last June.

Upon finding out the position of a filming crew of the Russian State Broadcasting Company and other civilians, she allegedly reported the data to mortar men who then delivered fire at the crew and the civilians. As a result, correspondent Igor Kornelyuk and sound engineer Anton Voloshin were killed.

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