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Ukrainian medics denied visit to jail to meet Savchenko — source

March 13, 2015, 19:50 UTC+3 MOSCOW

Ukraianian ex-military Nadezhda Savchenko went on hunger strike in December to protest her arrest

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© Artyom Geodakyan/TASS

MOSCOW, March 13. /TASS/. Ukrainian medics failed to visit Ukrainian pilot Nadezhda Savchenko in a pre-trial detention center on Friday as they had no permit, a source from a Moscow’s law enforcement agency told TASS.

"Everything will be settled as soon as they get necessary authorization documents," explained the source. Earlier, Savchenko’s lawyer Mark Feigin said the medics had failed to meet with Nadezhda Savchenko despite pledges to let them do this.

Professor Nataliya Kharchenko from the group of Ukrainian medics confirmed to TASS that they had waited at the prison for more than five hours. "We spent more than five hours sitting in a car outside the pretrial detention facility. They said they were no obstacles but wouldn’t let us in," she said.

Kharchenko, a gastroenterologist and nutritionist, said the group of medics also included a professor neurologist and anesthesiologist-resuscitator.

The 33-year-old Ukrainian military pilot has been charged with involvement in an attack that killed two Russian journalists on eastern Ukraine's frontlines, where she enlisted as a volunteer in one of the battalions fighting against local militias.

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

Noting the position of a filming crew of the Russian State Broadcasting Company and other civilians, she allegedly reported the data to mortar-equipped personnel who fired on the crew and the civilians. As a result, correspondent Igor Kornelyuk and sound engineer Anton Voloshin were killed.

Savchenko went on hunger strike in December to protest against her arrest. Her lawyers said in mid-February that she was also refusing glucose, taking only drinking water. On March 6, the Ukrainian agreed to drink chicken broth following doctors’ recommendations. But the prison service said she had not given up continuing her hunger strike.

As she was elected a deputy of Ukraine’s Verkhovna Rada (parliament) of the eighth convocation, she filed resignation from the Ukrainian Armed Forces.

Russian Human Rights Commissioner Ella Pamfilova and other human rights advocates - members of the presidential Human Rights Council - have repeatedly visited her in the pre-trial detention center.

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