Russian court announces guilty verdict for Savchenko
A Russian court has found Ukrainian pilot and Verkhovna Rada deputy Nadiya Savchenko guilty of charges filed against her.
One of Savchenko’s lawyers, Mark Feygin, had already stated before today’s verdict that he expected his client to be found guilty and handed a lengthy prison sentence, reported the BBC. The official court judgment, its justification, and the pilot's sentence will be announced tomorrow.
Feygin tweeted that Savchekno’s guilty verdict is characteristic of how the Russian propaganda machine works and the inadequacies of its justice system.
The Russian prosecuting authority is demanding a 23-year prison sentence for Savchenko.
Senior Lieutenant Nadiya Savchenko, a Mi-24 helicopter pilot in the Ukrainian Air Force, fell into the hands of pro-Kremlin separatist rebels near Luhansk, in Eastern Ukraine, on June 17 of last year, and was later transported illegally over the border into Russian territory.
According to the Investigative Committee of Russia, Savchenko crossed the border into Russian territory with forged documents, claiming to be an immigrant, and was thereafter arrested.
Russian authorities have accused Savchenko of being involved as an artillery spotter in the deaths of Russian television's Rossija-1 journalists Igor Kornelyuk and Anton Voloshi in the Luhansk region on June 17. The pilot’s lawyers claimed that, at the time of their deaths, Savchenko had already been imprisoned.
Both Savchenko herself and Ukrainian leaders have denied all allegations from the Kremlin. Both the imprisonment and the trial of the Ukrainian pilot have been criticized by many Western nations as well as international organizations, whose representatives have called on Russia to free Savchenko.