The Russian embassy in Kiev was pelted with eggs and stones, cars were smashed and hundreds took to the streets today as Ukrainians’ anger boiled over at Moscow’s refusal to free a hunger-striking pilot.
Hundreds of Ukrainian protesters gathered outside the Russian embassy in Kiev to demand the release of Nadiya Savchenko, a 34-year-old pilot who is on trial in Russia for murder.
The protesters also burnt a Russian flag and attached a makeshift gallows to the embassy fence, hanging an effigy of Russian President Vladimir Putin with a sign “murderer,” an AFP correspondent reported.
Several embassy windows were broken during the protest.
“The situation is rather tense,” Oleg Grishin, spokesman
for the Russian embassy, told AFP.
He said the embassy was now working under a “special regime.”
The incident came after around 10 people attacked the mission overnight yesterday smashing several cars, apparently with a hammer, officials said.
Grishin said they had thrown flares and smoke pellets at the embassy.
Ukrainian police said a “hooliganism” probe was opened over the nighttime attack.
The protesters gathered outside the embassy after more than a thousand people earlier today turned up on Kiev’s iconic Maidan square, demanding that Russia release the hunger-striking pilot.
Savchenko announced she was going on hunger strike on Thursday, rejecting both food and water, to protest delays in her controversial murder trial in Russia.
She is demanding to be repatriated to Ukraine after a judge in the southern Russian town of Donetsk on Thursday unexpectedly postponed her final address to court as her trial over the 2014 killing of two Russian journalists in east Ukraine nears an end.
In Moscow, one of Savchenko’s lawyers, Nikolai Polozov, said today that she was in “satisfactory condition.”
Two journalists from Russian public broadcaster VGTRK—
Igor Kornelyuk and Anton Voloshin—died in shelling on June 17, 2014, in Ukraine’s Lugansk region.
Russian prosecutors say Savchenko was involved in the killing in her capacity as a volunteer in a Ukrainian battalion.
She denies the charges and says she was kidnapped and smuggled into Russia.