Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko has awarded the country’s highest national honor to pilot Nadiya Savchenko.
Savchenko was captured by pro-Russian rebels in eastern Ukraine in June and taken to Russia, where she was charged with involvement in a mortar attack that killed two Russian journalists.
In a statement on March 2, Poroshenko said: “Nadiya is a symbol of unbroken Ukrainian spirit and heroism, a symbol of the way one should defend and love Ukraine, a symbol of our victory.”
Savchenko, who was awarded the “Gold Star Hero of Ukraine” by Poroshenko, has been on hunger strike for 80 days.
She denies the charges against her, saying she was kidnapped and brought to Russia illegally.
Savchenko’s sister, Vira, said on March 1 that her sister was “in fact in a very bad state.”