A Russian court has 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 Wednesday 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, has been on a hunger strike since Dec. 13. She is awaiting trial on charges of involvement in the deaths of two Russian journalists in eastern Ukraine. She denies the charges and says she was dragged across the border.

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.