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Ukrainian Protesters Attack Russian Embassy, Demand Pilot's Release

  • RFE/RL

Hundreds of protesters gathered outside the Russian Embassy in Kyiv on March 6 to demand that Moscow release Ukrainian pilot Nadia Savchenko.

The protesters threw eggs and rocks at the building, breaking several of its windows after smashing cars and burning a Russian flag.

Police officers at the scene did not intervene.

An embassy spokesman said that the building was "attacked" overnight and that men with baseball bats damaged embassy vehicles and threw smoke bombs onto its territory.

Savchenko said she was taken prisoner in Ukraine in July 2014 and was brought to Russia against her will for trial in connection with the deaths of two Russian journalists covering the fighting in Ukraine.

Her trial was adjourned on March 3 until March 9, prompting Savchenko to declare a dry hunger strike (refusing both food and liquids) after she was not allowed to make a final statement.

Prosecutors have asked the court to convict Savchenko and to sentence her to 23 years in prison.

Russia's presidential human rights envoy Ella Pamfilova met with Savchenko in her jail cell in Rostov-on-Don on March 6.

Savchenko's lawyer, Nikolai Polozov, said on his Facebook page on March 6 that Pamfilova had spoken by telephone to Savchenko's family and has assured them Savchenko is in satisfactory health and is being monitored closely.

WATCH: Protesters In Kyiv Demand Russia Release Ukrainian Pilot

Polozov also wrote that his client is in "satisfactory condition" and is not being forcibly fed or hydrated.

A group of Ukrainian doctors has applied for permission to visit Savchenko, he added.

On March 6, Russian journalist Irina Lesnevskaya, founder of REN-TV, wrote an appeal on Facebook to Russian President Vladimir Putin, asking him to release Savchenko in honor of the International Women's Day holiday on March 8.

"Don't humiliate Russia, its men, and its officers who still know what honor is all about," she wrote. "Even if you consider a Ukrainian officer defending the sovereignty of her country to be an enemy, respect her. I also consider you my ideological enemy, but let me at least respect the president of my country as a man."

With reporting byTASS, AP, and AFP