Ukrainian pilot, Nadiya Savchenko will face the verdict by a Russian court for killing Russian journalists in Lugansk People’s Republic in eastern Ukraine.
One of the panels of three judges from the Donetsk City Court of Russia’s Rostov Region read a part of the prosecution summary but the actual verdict will be read Tuesday.
On June 17, 2014, two Russian public broadcasters VGTRK Igor Kornelyuk and Anton Voloshin, were killed in the artillery fire, believed to be directed by Savchenko from a Ukrainian volunteer battalion. She was captured by Russian rebels in eastern Ukraine.
“Nadiya Viktorovna Savchenko committed the killing of Kornelyuk and Voloshin by a group of persons by the previous concert for hatred and enmity motives,” said Leonid Stepanenko, chairman of the collegium of judges.
Prosecutors have been demanding for a 23-year jail term for Savchenko. They accused her of “illegally traversing the Russian borders as a refugee”. However, Savchenko said she was “forcefully taken across Russian border by rebels”. She denied any involvement in the case. Moreover, one of her lawyers said that the phone call records proved that she was captured by Russian authorities before the murders of the journalists.
Currently, she in a detention facility in Novocherkassk; located 100km from Donetsk, Rostov region, reports RBTH.
Russian media has been reporting that the court had found Savchenko guilty of the murders. However, her lawyers, Mark Feigin and Nikolai Polezov, said that final verdict is yet to be announced on Tuesday.
“It will be a guilty verdict, of course. Today, as before, we are convinced of Nadezhda Savchenko’s innocence, we have proved her innocent,” Feygin said in a report by The Indian Express.
Feygin added that the accused will not file any appeal. “It’s her decision, she believes not filing an appeal will speed up the negotiation process and her handover to Ukraine,” the lawyer said.
Following Russia’s stance over the verdict, Ukraine and other western allies consider it as a politically motivated pretence. They are viewing it as a political aggression by Kremlin against the ex-Soviet neighbour, where Moscow annexed Crimea peninsula and caused unrest in eastern Ukraine, reports ABC.
Samantha Power, a US envoy to the UN, called the trial “ridiculous”. Moreover, Barak Obama and German Chancellor Angela Merkel have supported the release of Savchenko.
In its efforts, Ukraine is looking forward to the proposal of swapping her with two Russian special forces officers captured in eastern Ukraine last year.
Since the beginning of the trial in September, Savchenko has gone on several hunger strikes. According to close sources, she will go on a dry hunger strike, refusing water; in a case of the guilty verdict.