Ukrainian Pilot Jailed in Russia 'Could Die Within Days,' Says Rights Advocate

Ukrainian army pilot Nadezhda Savchenko looks out from a defendant's cage during a hearing at the Basmanny district court in Moscow, Feb. 10, 2015.

The hunger-striking Ukrainian pilot jailed in Russia could die within days, a member of the Kremlin's human rights council said Friday.

Nadezhda Savchenko has started to decline glucose injections and her health is failing fast, rights advocate Yelena Masyuk wrote in an appeal published on the Presidential Council on Civil Society and Human Rights website, arguing that Savchenko should be released from jail and put under house arrest.

Masyuk, who visited Savchenko in jail, appealed to her fellow council members in the statement to petition for the pilot to be transferred to the Ukrainian Embassy in Moscow or an apartment rented in the city by her lawyers.

Savchenko began declining glucose injections — which had been her main nourishment during the hunger strike, now in its third month — about two weeks ago, Masyuk said in the statement.

The health of the 33-year-old pilot has declined rapidly, she said. "Serious problems with her internal organs are beginning. Nadezhda Savchenko could die within days," she wrote in the statement.

Lawyers have been expressing concerns about Savchenko's sharply deteriorating health over the past weeks, underscoring Western and Ukrainian calls for her release.

Moscow accuses Savchenko of abetting the killing of two Russian journalists who died in artillery shelling in eastern Ukraine last June. She was captured by pro-Moscow forces in eastern Ukraine and handed over to Russia last summer.

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