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Ukraine's Savchenko Goes On Hunger Strike For POWs

  • RFE/RL

Nadia Savchenko made her announcement at a press conference in Kyiv on August 2.

Nadia Savchenko made her announcement at a press conference in Kyiv on August 2.

Nadia Savchenko, the Ukrainian military officer who spent nearly two years in a Russian jail, says she is going on hunger strike for Ukraine's prisoners of war.

"I am again declaring a hunger strike against the inaction of government officials of the whole world on the question of the release of Ukrainians from captivity," Savchenko, who was elected to parliament while in prison, said in Kyiv on August 2.

"I will keep the hunger strike until the day of a positive result."

Savchenko, a helicopter navigator, was captured in June 2014, and a Russian court handed her a 22-year prison sentence after finding her guilty of involvement in the deaths of two Russian journalists covering the Ukraine conflict.

PROFILE: The Many Faces Of Nadia Savchenko

She went on multiple hunger strikes while in custody.

Freed in May as part of a prisoner swap, she has regularly called for further prisoner exchanges and direct peace talks with Russia-backed separatists.

"What have their patriotic slogans and deceitful actions brought to us? And what has [Ukraine's eastern region of] Donbas gained from this politicized war and from Russia?" Savchenko asked on August 2.

"Death, ruins, plundering by Russian combatants, and the rise of its own [local] unscrupulous oligarchs."

More than 9,400 people have been killed since hostilities erupted in Ukraine’s east in April 2014.

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