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Leader of Ukraine's unrecognized republic questioned in Russian court

November 18, 2015, 18:08 UTC+3 DONETSK
Igor Plotnitsky is being questioned on the case of former Ukrainian pilot Nadezhda Savchenko currently on trial in Russia
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Head of Ukraine's self-proclaimed Luhansk People’s Republic, Igor Plotnitsky

Head of Ukraine's self-proclaimed Luhansk People’s Republic, Igor Plotnitsky

© Stanislav Krasilnikov/TASS

DONETSK (Rostov Region, Russia), November 18. /TASS/. The questioning of the head of Ukraine's self-proclaimed Luhansk People’s Republic (LPR), Igor Plotnitsky, on the case of former Ukrainian pilot Nadezhda Savchenko, accused of involvement in the murder of Russian journalists, is underway in Russia's Donetsk City Court, a TASS correspondent reported from the courtroom Wednesday.

Plotnitsky personally came to the court.

According to investigators, Plotnitsky, while being the commander of the Zarya militia battalion, gave instructions to free Savchenko from captivity and take her to a safe place. Savchenko claims she was abducted and taken to Russian territory by force. Savchenko’s defense calls Plotnitsky a key witness in her case.

The questioning of Plotnitsky is being held behind closed doors.

Earlier, the prosecutor and judge supported Plotnitsky’s request to question him behind closed doors for security reasons. The defense and the accused objected saying nothing threatens him.

Consideration of Savchenko’s case on merits started in Russia’s Donetsk City Court September 22.

Savchenko’s case

Nadezhda Savchenko is accused of involvement in the murder of two Russian journalists in the Luhansk Region, as well as illegal crossing of the border with Russia. The materials of her case were separated from the general case on Ukrainian servicemen committing genocide and using banned means and methods of war.

The period of investigation on her case has been extended until November 13. If found guilty, Savchenko faces up to 25 years in prison.

According to investigators, during combat operations near the eastern Ukrainian city of Luhansk on June 17, 2014, Savchenko, who was an officer of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, from the location of the Aidar battalion - a paramilitary group of Ukraine’s Interior Ministry - in the vicinity of the village of Metallist secretly adjusted artillery fire on a section of the Luhansk People’s Republic militia's roadblock with civilians, including three Russian journalists.

As a result, VGTRK journalists Igor Kornelyuk and Anton Voloshin were killed.

Savchenko does not admit her guilt.

The defense says the legal interests of its client in Russia are infringed upon, but Russian federal law enforcement structures deny that.

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