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PACE President Asks Duma Speaker To Help Free Savchenko

People at a unity rally in Kherson on January 18 hold a sign urging the release of Nadia Savchenko, the Ukrainian military pilot in Russian custody.

The president of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) has asked the Kremlin-allied speaker of Russia's lower parliament house to help secure the urgent release of Ukrainian military pilot Nadia Savchenko.

PACE President Anne Brasseur also expressed concern over the health of Savchenko, who has been on a hunger strike in a Russian jail since December 15.

Brasseur made the appeal in a letter to State Duma speaker Sergei Naryshkin, the assembly said in a statement on January 21.

It said Savchenko, who was elected to the Ukranian parliament in October, should be released to enable her to attend the opening of a PACE session in Strasbourg on January 26.

Russia has charged Savchenko with involvement in the deaths of two Russian journalists killed in the conflict in eastern Ukraine.

She denies the charges and says Russia has no right to prosecute her.

Savchenko's sister, Vira, visited her on January 20 and said she vowed to continue her hunger strike until her release.

With reporting by UNIAN
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