DONETSK/Rostov region/, October 26. /TASS/. The judge of southern Russia’s Donetsk court holding trial of former Ukrainian pilot Nadezhda Savchenko has explained that her sister was not banned from entering Russia by border guards.
"The border service of Russia’s Federal Security Service in the Rostov region responded that the authority is not aware of the entry ban to Russia for citizen Vera Savchenko," Judge Leonid Stepanenko said.
The judge read out a similar answer at the previous hearing ten days ago.
In mid-October, lawyers said Savchenko’s younger sister, the defense team’s crucial witness, was told at a checkpoint in the Rostov region that she had been banned entry to Russia by the FSB. She had no problems with coming to Russia before, lawyer Nikolai Polozov said.
Lawyer Mark Feygin earlier said Savchenko’s sister was banned entry to Russia until 2020.
On October 19, Vera Savchenko was allowed to Russia at the Pulkovo airport in St. Petersburg. On October 21, the Donetsk court refused to question her out of turn at the request of the lawyers. They said there were no guarantees the woman would be allowed to enter Russia next time.
Donetsk city court in southern Russia’s Rostov region is continuing hearings into the Savchenko case, underway since September 22. The colleagues of the killed Russian reporters are giving evidence via a video conference from Moscow.
Investigators say Savchenko, a Ukrainian forces officer, joined the Aidar militant battalion and in June of last year was conducting covert surveillance and direction of artillery bombarding a checkpoint in eastern Ukraine's Lugansk People’s Republic.
Russian journalists Igor Kornelyuk and Anton Voloshin died in the shelling. Savchenko is also charged with attempted homicide as six local residents also came under fire. If found guilty, Savchenko faces up to 25 years in prison.