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Savchenko Goes On Hunger Strike As Detention Is Extended

Ukrainian military pilot Nadia Savchenko is seen inside a defendant's cage as she attends a court hearing in the Russian city of Donetsk last week,

Ukrainian military pilot Nadia Savchenko, who is in detention in Russia after being accused of involvement in the death of two Russian journalists, has gone on a hunger strike.

A Savchenko lawyer, Nikolai Polozov, said in a tweet that the detainee announced the hunger strike in a Donetsk city court in Russia's Rostov region on December 17.

"Nadia Savchenko has gone on a hunger strike until the end of the trial," Polzov said, adding that she will begin a "dry" hunger strike when she is sentenced, meaning that she will refuse both food and water.

"She demands to be released," he said.

Polozov said the court also agreed with a prosecutor's request to extend her detention until April 16.

Russian officials say Savchenko helped relay information to artillery units that fired near a location in eastern Ukraine where two Russian journalists were killed by artillery fire.

Savchenko -- who is also being charged with illegally crossing the Russian border -- says she was captured by pro-Russian separatists in July 2014 and forcibly taken to Russia.

If found guilty, Savchenko faces up to 25 years in prison.

The 34-year-old has spent over a year in custody in Russia, during which time she has already protested her detention by going on an extended hunger strike.

Based on reporting by TASS and Interfax