12:34 07.03.2016

Russia not giving access to jailed Nadia Savchenko for Ukrainian doctors

3 min read
Russia not giving access to jailed Nadia Savchenko for Ukrainian doctors

Russia has given no permission yet for the Ukrainian military service member and parliamentarian, Nadia Savchenko, held at detention facility No. 3 in Novocherkassk in Russia's Rostov region, to be visited by a group of Ukrainian doctors, said Vitaliy Moskalenko, Ukrainian Consul General in Rostov-on-Don.

"The relevant request was sent to the Russian Foreign Ministry as early as March 5. However, there is still no response," Moskalenko told the Ukrainian censor.net news website.

On Monday, March 7, the consuls are going to visit the jail where Savchenko is being held, he said. "We have a firm intention and need to visit her at any cost!" Moskalenko said.

On March 3 the Donetsk city court in the Rostov region held another hearing in the Savchenko case during which she was expected to make a final statement. However, after the lawyers made their speeches, the judge unexpectedly declared the session closed, without giving the accused the final word. The court was adjourned until March 9 when the defendant will be given the final word, following which the judges will announce the sentencing date.

At the court hearings last Thursday Savchenko announced her intention to begin a "dry" hunger strike from the following Friday, unless she was given the last word. On Friday morning her lawyer Mikhail Feygin said his client had already announced a hunger strike, "has not drunk water the whole day and is going to continue the hunger strike until she is returned to Ukraine."

Savchenko's relatives and lawyers who maintain her Facebook page published photocopies of her final statement in which the defendant said she is not guilty, will not appeal against the Russian court verdict and will announce a dry hunger strike after its announcement.

She also said that she will resist any intervention by Russian doctors and will only accept it from Ukrainian or other foreign doctors.

Savchenko has been held in Russian custody since July 2014 after being kidnapped by Russia-backed separatists and illegally taken across the Ukrainian border.

Russian investigators claim Savchenko was at the base of the Aidar battalion near the village of Metalist in the Slovianoserbsk district of Luhansk region in eastern Ukraine on June 17, 2014, where she was conducting secret surveillance and correcting artillery fire targeting a checkpoint of militants from the self-proclaimed Luhansk People's Republic, as well as civilians sheltering there; among them were three journalists of Russia's VGTRK broadcaster. Two Russian reporters, namely Igor Kornelyuk and Anton Voloshin, were killed in the attack.

Savchenko denies all charges.

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