Detained Ukrainian Lawmaker Savchenko Goes on Hunger Strike

Nadezhda Savchenko

Nadezhda Savchenko

Ukrainian authorities have detained Nadiya Savchenko, an ex-combat pilot in Ukraine's air force, on suspicion of planning an armed attack against the parliament. Besides, the MP said she meant to go on hunger strike to protest the arrest which she finds unlawful.

After receiving a hero's welcome at home, she won a seat in the Ukrainian parliament, but her political career was marked by public clashes with the government of President Petro Poroshenko. She is suspected of plotting a terrorist attack, planning to kill members of parliament, government, and the president, and organizing a coup. "We expect that the rule of law and her rights will be respected", a European Union representative said in a commentary to an Ukrinform correspondent. "Savchenko is an internal affair of Ukraine", he said. 'I will show the Ukrainian people what a hero is'.

The ruling determines that the arrest shall last 59 days, until May 20, 2018, and this decision may be appealed in a court of appeals within five days since the date of its announcement. In exchange, Ukraine released two Russian soldiers who had been imprisoned for their involvement in the war against Ukraine.

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Savchenko was elected as a member of the Ukrainian parliament while serving her jail term in Russian Federation. The Western media also portrayed her as a heroic figure persecuted by Moscow.

Russian President Vladimir Putin pardoned her shortly afterward amid global outrage at her sentence, but after her return home, Savchenko quickly fell out with Poroshenko, whose government she has accused of corruption and incompetence. She then quickly alienated many Ukrainian politicians.

Savchenko attended the vote to strip her of immunity on Thursday but did not directly address the accusations against her. In particular, she did not participate in supply of weapons to Ukraine from Donbass. "The entire people of Ukraine think so". By playing along, she was hoping to expose the government's scheme against her, Savchenko said.

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Earlier in the day, a court in Kiev started proceedings on the case of Savchenko.

The Ukrainian parliament on Thursday stripped a celebrated former military pilot and presidential hopeful of her immunity as a lawmaker, sanctioning her arrest on charges of plotting an attack on parliament with grenades and automatic weapons.

Her defiance in the Russian court earned her the nickname of Ukraine's 'Joan of Arc, ' and at the time posters calling for her release were hung on the streets, at airports and in the chamber of parliament.

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