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Jailed Ukrainian MP goes on hunger strike

December 05, 19:43 UTC+3 KIEV

She spent nearly two years in the Russian custody and was pardoned by Russian President Vladimir Putin on May 25, 2016

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© EPA-EFE/SERGEY DOLZHENKO

KIEV, December 5. /TASS/. Ukrainian MP Nadezhda Savehcnko has declared a hunger strike on Wednesday in response to "blackmail and pressure" by the Ukrainian Security Service (SBU), the politician’s Facebook page informed.

"The SBU investigators are blackmailing and pressuring the people’s deputy and chairperson of the "Nadezhda Savchenko's Public and Political Platform" party, demanding the lawyers to study the case files immediately to start proceedings basically in exchange for the possibility to see loved ones, associates, to recover electronic keys, and to open a bank account to register as a candidate for the president of Ukraine," the Facebook post says.

"In this regard, Nadezhda Savchenko declares a hunger strikes as political prisoner, until her rights and freedoms are ensured in accordance with the Constitution of Ukraine and the current legal framework."

Savchenko’s case

The Ukrainian Parliament, the Verkhovna Rada, stripped Savchenko of her parliamentary immunity and granted the go-ahead to detain and arrest her earlier in the year. A Kiev court put Savchenko into custody for two months on March 23, 2018, prompting her to declare a hunger strike. The court later rejected her appeal against the arrest and extended it for another two months.

Savchenko, a former Ukrainian military pilot who had taken an active part in Kiev’s military operation in eastern Ukraine, was detained in Russia in June 2014. She had been sentenced to 22 years in jail over complicity in the killing of two Russian journalists in east Ukraine.

She spent nearly two years in the Russian custody and was pardoned by Russian President Vladimir Putin on May 25, 2016. Upon her return to Kiev, Savchenko began an active political career as a member of the Ukrainian parliament.

However, she fell into disfavor of Ukraine’s authorities after her private trips to the self-proclaimed Donetsk and Lugansk People’s Republics in eastern Ukraine and talks with their leadership.

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