Russian, Ukrainian foreign ministers discuss Savchenko case

Russian and Ukrainian foreign ministers engage in phone conversation regarding pilot Nadiya Savchenko’s hunger strike

Photo by: Reuters
Photo by: Reuters

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

Ukraine's and Russia's respective foreign ministers discussed Ukrainian pilot Nadiya Savchenko's hunger strike over the phone on Wednesday, the Russian Foreign Ministry has stated.

Sergei Lavrov told Pavlo Klimkin that Russia is ready to let doctors access to Savchenko while she is imprisoned even though she is not allowed to see visitors until her sentencing on March 21.

Russia’s Foreign Ministry said that the pilot is currently in a good health.

Ukrainian military pilot Nadiya Savchenko, who has been accused of killing of two Russian journalists during the Ukrainian conflict, said that she will continue a hunger strike in order to gain her freedom.

Nadiya Savchenko's high-profile case has raised deep concerns in the West and in Kiev, where the Ukrainian government denounced the trial as a "farce" and demanded her immediate release.

"I will continue my dry hunger strike," the 34-year-old pilot said in her final address to the court in the small southern Russian town of Donetsk, rejecting food and water.

US Vice President Joe Biden also expressed his concerns over the fate of the Ukrainian pilot.

"Nadiya has been unjustly imprisoned in Russia since 2014 - detained and facing trial on trumped up charges," Biden said in a statement.

"Her unlawful continuing detention is a clear violation of Russia's commitment under the Minsk agreements, and she should be freed at once," he added, referring to a deal signed in the Belarussian capital aimed at ending the conflict.

Savchenko has been detained since June 2014 for allegedly being involved in the deaths of two Russian journalists just two months after the conflict began.

The European Union said her strike was "extremely worrisome."

"Russia bears responsibility for the health, well-being and observance of the human rights of all persons it detains," an EU spokeswoman said.

Savchenko said she will resist even if the court announces a verdict and sentencing takes longer than a week.

The pilot has become a symbol of resistance to Ukranian separatists in a conflict which has claimed more than 9,000 lives since April 2014.

If she is found guilty she could receive 23-years in jail for the deaths of the two journalists from Russian public broadcaster VGTRK who died during shelling.

However, she denies all charges, saying that she was kidnapped before the incident and smuggled across the border into Russia.

Hundreds of angry Ukrainians gathered in front of Russia's embassy in Kiev at the weekend to protest her detention, throwing eggs and stones.

TRTWorld and agencies