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Russia's Detention of Ukraine Pilot Nadiya Savchenko 'Unacceptable': U.S.

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LONDON — The State Department criticized Russia's "unacceptable" refusal to release an imprisoned Ukrainian pilot who has been on hunger strike for almost 11 weeks.

Nadiya Savchenko was detained in June on charges she was involved in the deaths of two journalists, allegations she denies. At the time of her detention, there were conflicting reports over how the pilot — whose plane was shot down in eastern Ukraine — ended up in Russia. Moscow said she crossed the border voluntarily while other reports suggested she had been kidnapped.

A Moscow court turned down an appeal by Savchenko's lawyers Wednesday and ruled she should remain in custody, according to The Associated Press.

State Department Spokesperson Jen Psaki urged Moscow to "honor its commitments" of a cease-fire reached with Ukraine last month, which included releasing all illegally-held prisoners and hostages.

"By any standard, Russia's detention and treatment of Ms. Savchenko is unacceptable," Psaki said. "The United States deplores her continued ill-treatment and is deeply concerned by reports of her deteriorating health."

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