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Savchenko Declares Dry Hunger Strike to Protest Russian Sentence

Ukrainian pilot Nadezhda Savchenko

Imprisoned Ukrainian military pilot Nadezhda Savchenko will begin a dry hunger strike on Wednesday in protest against her 22-year prison sentence, her defense team confirmed on Monday, the state-run TASS news agency reported.

The sentence — imposed by a Russian court after Savchenko was found guilty of colluding in the deaths of two Russian journalists — comes into effect today. Savchenko has repeatedly refused to acknowledge the court’s verdict, but also stated she will not appeal it.

"Savchenko will declare a dry hunger strike on April 6," her lawyer Nikolai Polozov said on Sunday, TASS reported. "She demands immediate return to Ukraine."

On Monday her lawyer Mark Feygin posted on Twitter a letter from Savchenko that reiterated her wish to return to Ukraine.

"As a response to the criminal actions of the Russian authorities against me and against Ukraine, I declare a dry strike beginning from April 6, 2016,” the letter read.

In response to questions on the issue of Savchenko’s future, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said no decision had yet been made.

“It is not the Kremlin’s prerogative to control the conditions or eating habits of prisoners,” he said, the RBC news agency reported.

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