Russian subterfuge

Ukrainian pilot ends hunger strike after receiving fake “letter from president”

Nadezhda (Nadya) Savchenko. (SERGEI VENYAVSKY/AFP/Getty Images)

Nadya V. Savchenko, a captured Ukrainian military pilot who raised her middle finger to a Russian judge, sang the Ukrainian national anthem in court, and called her trial “the farce of Kremlin puppets,” ended her dry hunger strike on Thursday by drinking water, according to her lawyer, Mark Feygin. Savchenko agreed to drink water after receiving a letter from President Petro O. Poroshenko of Ukraine, the Ukrainian news media reported. Feygin said he received a letter from a person he understood to be a Ukrainian consular official, but Mr. Poroshenko’s office issued a statement saying that the president had sent no such letter. “It was all subterfuge,” says Feygin, who now regards the letter as a forgery intended to end the strike. “And it didn’t take place without the participation of special services of the Russian Federation.”

Savchenko had refused to drink water for five days, and throughout the closing arguments in her trial and her defiant final statement she vowed to carry on. Savchenko was detained under unclear circumstances and is on trial in Russia for the murder of two journalists, a charge she denies. Vice President Joseph Biden and Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany, among others, have called for her release, and 2,000 people rallied in Savchenko’s support on Sunday in Kiev. Feygin said that although Savchenko had broken the dry hunger strike, she would continue to refuse food.

Read the full story at The New York Times.

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