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Ukrainian ex-pilot Savchenko’s trial starts in Russia’s Donetsk

September 22, 2015, 11:41 UTC+3 DONETSK
Foreign diplomats are monitoring the trial, which is widely covered by the media
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© TASS/Valeriy Matytsin

DONETSK/Rostov region/, September 22. /TASS/. A trial of former Ukrainian military pilot Nadezhda Savchenko is underway in a Donetsk court in southern Russia’s Rostov region, a TASS correspondent has reported.

Savchenko, 34, was taken to the court at around 9.20 a.m. Moscow time (06.20 a.m. GMT). The Russian and foreign reporters were already standing in front of the entrance to the court building.

The trial began 16 minutes later than scheduled. Several people wearing Savchenko T-shirts were spotted.

Foreign diplomats are monitoring the trial, which is widely covered by the media.

Security was tightened in the court, with all the entrances to the building being cordoned off by police. The traffic has been limited and people can enter the building only after thorough checks.

Savchenko is charged with three counts: murder, attempted murder and illegally crossing border. The criminal case consists of 42 volumes. The former pilot does not admit her guilt.

Russia's investigators have collected irrefutable evidence of guilt of the Ukrainian citizen in the crimes, Investigative Committee official spokesman Vladimir Markin said in July.

Russian investigators say that Savchenko, the gunner of a Mi-24 helicopter, joined the notorious Aidar battalion during combat operations in the much-troubled Lugansk region of Ukraine in June 2014.

Upon noting the position of a filming crew of the Russian State Broadcasting Company and other civilians, Savchenko allegedly reported the data to mortar-equipped personnel who opened fire on the crew and the civilians. As a result, correspondent Igor Kornelyuk and sound engineer Anton Voloshin were killed.

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