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Ukrainian Pilot Ends Hunger Strike


Ukrainian jailed military officer Nadezhda Savchenko sits in a glass cage during a trial in the town of Donetsk, Rostov-on-Don region, Russia on March 9, 2016.

Ukrainian jailed military officer Nadezhda Savchenko sits in a glass cage during a trial in the town of Donetsk, Rostov-on-Don region, Russia on March 9, 2016.

Ukrainian pilot Nadiya Savchenko, who has been on a hunger strike since last week to protest the Russian criminal case against her, has begun taking liquids, according to her lawyer.

Nikolai Polozov posted on Twitter Thursday that his client has stopped her hunger strike, a day after she appeared in court to face accusations she killed two Russian journalists in a 2014 mortar attack in Ukraine's Luhansk region.

Wednesday, while Savchenko appeared in a Russian courtroom to face the charges, Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko posted video on social media calling Savchenko's trial a "farce" conducted in a "kangaroo court."

Sentencing set

Savchenko's trial is being held in Rostov-on-Don in southern Russia. The judge in her case has announced Savchenko will be sentenced on March 21-22.

Ukrainian jailed military officer Nadezhda Savchenko stands in a glass cage during a trial in the town of Donetsk, Rostov-on-Don region, Russia on March 3, 2016.

Ukrainian jailed military officer Nadezhda Savchenko stands in a glass cage during a trial in the town of Donetsk, Rostov-on-Don region, Russia on March 3, 2016.

Prosecutors have asked the court to sentence her to 23 years in prison.

Ukraine says Savchenko was kidnapped by the Russians and should be treated as a prisoner of war. Her case inspired some 2,000 Ukrainians to rally in her defense in Kyiv on Sunday.

On Tuesday, U.S. vice president Joe Biden issued a statement on her behalf, calling on Russia to release her immediately.

Savchenko on Wednesday echoed Poroshenko's words in court, calling the proceedings a farce and reminding officials, "we are playing with my life. The stakes are high and I have nothing to lose."

She punctuated her contemptuous words by raising her middle finger (in a vulgar gesture).

Savchenko is accused of aiding in a June 2014 mortar attack on Ukraine's Luhansk region, where a shell killed two Russian television reporters.

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