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Detained Ukrainian Activist Kolchenko Ends Hunger Strike in Russian Jail

Oleg Sentsov (L) and Aleksander Kolchenko (Valery Matytsin / TASS)

A Ukrainian activist sentenced to 10 years on extremism charges in Russia has decided to end his hunger strike.

Alexander Kolchenko was detained in May 2014 after Russia’s annexation of Crimea from Ukraine. He was accused of helping to burn down an office of the ruling United Russia party in the Crimean city of Simferopol a month earlier, accusations he denied.

Kolchenko’s decision to end his hunger strike was announced by Andrei Lepekhin, a lawyer at the Agora international human rights group.

“In his words, he is very weak and has started to faint,” Lepekhin wrote on Facebook, adding that the activist had lost 10 kilograms since May 31.

Kolchenko had announced his hunger strike in support of detained filmmaker Oleg Sentsov, who has himself been on a hunger strike for over three weeks in a campaign demanding the release of Ukrainian political prisoners in Russia.

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