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Detained Ukrainian MP goes on hunger strike

March 23, 2018, 16:13 UTC+3 KIEV

Savchenko was detained on suspicion of plotting a coup d’etat in Ukraine

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Nadezhda Savchenko

Nadezhda Savchenko

© Pyotr Sivkov/TASS

KIEV, March 23. /TASS/. Ukrainian MP Nadezhda Savchenko, who was detained on Thursday on suspicion of plotting a coup d’etat in Ukraine, has declared a hunger strike.

"A political decision has been made to detain me. If I stay in prison, I will once again show who the Ukrainian people are and who the hero is. Starting today I’m going on a hunger strike," Savchenko announced at a judicial hearing on Friday.

On Thursday, the Ukrainian parliament, the Verkhovna Rada, stripped Savchenko of her immunity and voted for prosecuting and putting her in police custody. Shortly after she was taken into a pre-trial detention center and spent the night there. On Friday morning, a Kiev court started considering her arrest.

Savchenko is suspected of "colluding to change the constitutional system by force, plotting an attempt on the life of the Ukrainian president, conspiring to carry out a terror attack, assisting the activities of the terrorist organization, the Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR), carrying, acquiring and transferring firearms."

If found guilty, Savchenko faces up to 15 years behind bars or a life sentence.

Savchenko, a former Ukrainian pilot had taken an active part in Kiev’s military operation in eastern Ukraine and was detained in Russia in June 2014. She was sentenced in Russia to 22 years in jail over complicity in the killing of two Russian journalists in eastern Ukraine. She had spent nearly two years in Russian custody and was pardoned by Russian President Vladimir Putin on May 25, 2016. Savchenko then returned to Kiev and began her active political career as a Ukrainian MP. She fell out of favor with the authorities in Kiev after going on private trips to the self-proclaimed Donetsk and Lugansk People’s Republics in eastern Ukraine and conducting talks with their leadership.

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