MOSCOW (AP) — A Russian court on Wednesday refused to release a Ukrainian prisoner whose fate has attracted global attention.
Moscow's City Court turned down an appeal by Nadezhda Savchenko's lawyers, ruling that she should remain behind bars pending an investigation.
Savchenko, a Ukrainian military officer captured by Russia-backed rebels in eastern Ukraine in June and put in custody in Russia, is awaiting trial on charges of involvement in the deaths of two Russian journalists in eastern Ukraine. She denies the accusations.
Russia claims Savchenko voluntarily crossed the border into Russia before she was detained, but she said she was dragged across the border into the Russian custody.
Savchenko has been on a hunger strike since Dec. 13 demanding her release, and her lawyers on Wednesday voiced concern about her condition.
"Now we are getting close to the point when there are just days left before she would no longer be able to stand on her own feet, before she can no longer live," Savchenko's lawyer Nikolai Polozov said.
"If a political decision isn't made about the release of Nadezhda Savchenko, ... the responsibility for her health and life will lie entirely with the Russian government," he added.
More than 11,000 people, including some prominent cultural figures, have signed a petition to Russian President Vladimir Putin urging Savchenko's release.
Savchenko was elected to the Ukrainian parliament while in jail and named a delegate to the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe. The European Union and the United States have urged her release.