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Russia Charges Ukrainian Pilot Savchenko With Illegal Border Crossing

  • RFE/RL

A lawyer for Nadia Savchenko, a Ukrainian military pilot who has been on a hunger strike in a Russian jail since mid-December, says new a charge has been filed against his client.

Savchenko's lawyer Ilya Novikov wrote on Facebook late on January 29 that she had been charged with illegal border crossing.

Savchenko was captured by pro-Russian separatists in Ukraine in June and transferred to Russian custody in July.

She is charged with involvement in the deaths of two Russian journalists killed in the conflict in eastern Ukraine, but says Russia has no right to prosecute her.

Also on January 29, Savchenko was transferred to a hospital ward at Moscow's notorious Matrosskaya Tishina detention center because of what Novikov cited medical personnel as saying was abrupt weight loss.

On Facebook, Novikov later posted a letter Savchenko addressed to a jailed Russian activist, Mark Galperin, in which she wrote that she feels "okay and will fight on."

She wrote that "Ukraine and Russia together will defeat the evil and shameful government."

Russian officials have rejected calls by Kyiv and the West for her release.

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