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Savchenko resumes hunger strike

April 6, 2016

Nadezhda Savchenko's lawyer has said the pilot jailed in Russia is refusing to eat or drink as she begins her sentence. Savchenko has become a key figure in the ongoing conflict between Russia and Ukraine.

Savchenko in Russia
Image: Reuters/Reuters TV

Savchenko, who was sentenced to more than two decades in prison in March for the killing of two journalists, began a hunger strike in prison this week, her lawyer said Wednesday.

Mark Feygin took to Twitter to say that "Savchenko has begun a dry hunger strike," meaning the pilot is refusing to eat food and drink water.

His announcement came one day after her sentence took effect. Savchenko has reportedly gone on several other hunger strikes in the past, including one several weeks before the verdict.

The Ukrainian pilot has been in Russian detention for nearly two years after she was captured by pro-Moscow rebels in 2014.

Despite an attempt by Kyiv to grant her diplomatic immunity, the Russian government took her to trial, accusing her of giving the coordinates that killed two Russian TV journalists in eastern Ukraine.

Since her detainment, Savchenko has become something of a folk hero for pro-Kyiv Ukrainians. Meanwhile, she has become a symbolic target for Moscow, who has been accused of backing the rebellion in eastern Ukraine following the ouster of pro-Russian President Viktor Yanukovich in February 2014.

blc/bk (dpa, AP)