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35 Supporters of Ukrainian Pilot Savchenko Detained in Moscow

A total of 35 participants at a rally in support of Ukrainian pilot Nadezhda Savchenko have been detained at Triumfalnaya Ploshchad in central Moscow, the police monitoring website OVD-Info reported Tuesday.

According to the Interfax news agency, the protesters were detained after a police officer told the demonstrators to stop the illegal rally but they refused.

Earlier on Tuesday, Russian human rights activist Vladimir Shreidler was detained during a one-person picket near the Paveletsky metro station, according to OVD-Info.

On Monday, police detained another five demonstrators who were protesting against Savchenko's trial near the Federal Security Service (FSB) headquarters in Moscow.

The 34-year helicopter pilot Nadezhda Savchenko has been under arrest in Russia since July 2014.

Savchenko — considered a political prisoner by Ukraine — has been on trial for complicity in the killing of two Russian journalists during the conflict in eastern Ukraine. The prosecutor demands that the pilot be sentenced to 23 years.

Savchenko denies the charges and says she was kidnapped from Ukrainian territory and illegally transported to Russia. On Friday, she declared a dry hunger strike after the court denied a scheduled closing statement at her trial.

Over the past several days, rallies in support of Savchenko have been held in Russia's Moscow and St. Petersburg as well as in the Ukrainian capital and a number of European cities. Savchenko's release has also been demanded by the U.S. State Department and the European Union.

Russian authorities, however, have tried to stop all attempts to voice support for the Ukrainian pilot at home.

On Tuesday, a poster with Savchenko's photo and the caption "Live" appeared on a bus stop in the center of Moscow, but was quickly removed by the Moscow utilities service, according to photos posted on Open Russia's website.

Contact the author at a.bazenkova@imedia.ru

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