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Kremlin slams outside interference in case of Ukrainian army pilot on trial in Russia

March 17, 13:10 UTC+3
The Kremlin spokesman was asked if Nadezhda Savhenko's release had been discussed in a telephone conversation between Vladimir Putin and Barack Obama
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Nadezhda Savchenko

Nadezhda Savchenko

© Valeriy Matytsin/TASS

MOSCOW, March 17. /TASS/. Outside interference in a trial in Russia, including the one on the case of Ukrainian citizen Nadezhda Savchenko, is inadmissible, Russian presidential spokesman Dmitry Peskov said on Thursday when asked whether the possibility of her release was discussed in a telephone conversation between the Russian and US presidents at the beginning of this week.

"We are talking about a trial," he said. "Any outside interference in the work of our courts is inadmissible and impossible," Peskov said.

"It is impossible to give any assessments or say anything before the trial is completed and the sentence is pronounced," he added.

Nadezhda Savchenko is currently under trial in the city of Donetsk in Russia’s southern Rostov region. She is charged under three articles of the Russian Criminal Code "murder", "attempted murder" and "illegal border crossing".

The prosecution argues that on June 17, 2014, Savchenko was in the area controlled by the paramilitary battalion Aidar in the Lugansk Region from where she adjusted artillery fire against a roadblock held by militias of the self-proclaimed Lugansk People’s Republic and a group of civilians present there, including three Russian television journalists. The explosion of a mortar shell killed two of them - Igor Kornelyuk and Anton Voloshin.

The trial against Savchenko began on September 22, 2015. The court is to read out a verdict on March 21-22. The prosecutor wants her to be sentenced to 23 years in prison and a fine of 100,000 rubles (1,400 U.S. dollars). Savchenko, however, keeps on pleading not guilty.

The telephone conversation between the Russian and US presidents was held on Monday. The Ukrainian settlement was one of the issues discussed by the two leaders, but a report of the Kremlin press service made no mention of Savchenko or a possibility of exchanging detainees in general.

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