Ukrainian top gun held in Russia "could die soon"

(AGI) Moscow, Feb 27 - Nadia Savchenko, top gun of theUkrainian army held in Moscow and on hunger strike for 77 days,"could die soon", said a member of the Kremlin's Council forHuman Rights on Friday. After visiting the Ukrainian pilot inprison, council member Elena Masyuk wrote an open letter urgingthe woman's transfer to house arrest. However, the Russiannational prison service denied that she is in criticalcondition. Savchenko, 33 years old, fell into Russian hands inJune, when she was captured by separatists in the East andlater handed over to the Russian authorities.

(AGI) Moscow, Feb 27 - Nadia Savchenko, top gun of theUkrainian army held in Moscow and on hunger strike for 77 days,"could die soon", said a member of the Kremlin's Council forHuman Rights on Friday. After visiting the Ukrainian pilot inprison, council member Elena Masyuk wrote an open letter urgingthe woman's transfer to house arrest. However, the Russiannational prison service denied that she is in criticalcondition. Savchenko, 33 years old, fell into Russian hands inJune, when she was captured by separatists in the East andlater handed over to the Russian authorities. Russia said thepilot had illegally crossed the border and was involved in thedeath of two Russian journalists in the conflict betweenseparatists and Ukrainian forces. The pilot said she wasinnocent and on December 13 went on hunger strike against herdetention. She warned that she would continue her protest untilher return to Ukraine or until her death in Russia. Moscowwants to open a trial while Kiev has called for her immediaterelease. "In recent days her health has drasticallydeteriorated," wrote Masyuk, warning that "she could die in afew days" because of "serious problems with her internalorgans". Masyuk has also appealed to the President of theCouncil for Human Rights, Mikhail Fedotov, requesting that heask the authorities to put the woman under house arrest andsuggesting that she could stay either at the Ukrainian embassyor in an apartment in Moscow. "It is not in our power to freeNadezhda Savchenko," the letter continues, "but we have theright to appeal to those who can change the restrictivemeasures imposed on her. This would save her life!". Masyuk hasalso warned that the Savchenko case could push Russia furtherinto its international isolation and trigger a new round ofsanctions. A spokesman for the Human Rights Council said thatFedotov has read the letter and has already sent an appeal tothe Investigative Committee, which reports directly to Putin.For their part, the prison authorities insist that the healthof the Ukrainian top gun is "stable". A few days ago, a courtrejected a request made by lawyers of Savchenko for herrelease. At the appeal hearing, the woman appeared via a videolink and looked utterly exhausted, unable to sit up straight. . .