Tuesday, 3 March 2015

Ukrainian Pilot Nadiya Savchenko on Hunger Strike 80Days and Counting

Nadiya's sister says her health has worsened but the public's support feeds her

Thousands of Kyiv residents have gathered at the capital's Sophia square to pray for fighter pilot Nadiya Savchenko who is on hunger strike in a Moscow prison. Representatives of all religious denominations in Ukraine came to the square to support Savchenko, whose health has worsened dramatically in recent days.

Church representatives say the fact that different denominations joined the public prayer proves Ukraine's unity: "We are united in all our wishes, in all of our good deeds. Such unity that we see today in Sophia's Square can overcome any evil."

Ukrainian pilot Savchenko was captured by Russian-backed militants in eastern Ukraine last June. She was handed over to Russia, where she was accused of complicity in killing two Russian journalists. Nadiya Savchenko has been on hunger strike already for 79 days, she refused glucose injections more than two weeks ago.

Vira Savchenko, Ukrainian pilot's sister: "Her morale is strong; nothing and nobody can destroy it. But her physical condition is poor, even she admits it. She has a constant stomach ache. She's taken medicine to relieve the pain."

Nadiya's sister also says the public's support is like food that keeps the pilot going. Residents in Kyiv came out to support Savchenko, who Russia refuses to release, even though in January she became a member of the Council of Europe and received diplomatic immunity.

Ukrainians who came to the square also prayed for peace in Ukraine and in a symbolic act, released doves. Residents of the Western city of Lviv - also held a rally, supporting Nadiya Savchenko. They held pictures of her, signs that said, ‘we need you alive' and performed songs in honor of the Ukrainian female pilot.

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