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Verdict to Ukraine’s former pilot Nadezhda Savchenko comes into force

April 05, 2016, 5:09 UTC+3 MOSCOW

Savchenko was sentenced to 22 years in a general-security penal colony and a fine of 30,000 rubles

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© Valery Matytsin/TASS, archive

MOSCOW, April 5. /TASS/. The verdict to former Ukrainian pilot Nadezhda Savchenko, who was found guilty of killing two Russian journalists and illegal crossing of the Russian border and sentenced to 22 years in prison, has come into effect on Tuesday.

Under the law, Savchenko is to be convoyed to the penitentiary within ten days after the administration of the pretrial detention center receives a notification of the enforcement of the court verdict. When she leaves the pretrial detention center its administration is to inform her relative where she is being transferred.

Currently, Savchenko is being kept in a detention center in Novocherkassk and so far it is not known where she will be transferred to serve her sentence. Her lawyers say that the Ukrainian authorities are taking efforts to have her transferred to Ukraine. They don’t rule out she could be swapped for Russian citizens convicted in UKraine.

According to her lawyer Nikolai Polozov, after Russia receives a request on Savchenko’s transfer from Ukraine it will have 60 days to give an answer. "Under the Convention on the Transfer of Sentenced Persons of 1983 and the Russian Code of Criminal Procedure, such requests are considered within a months but an extra months might be requested, hence the deadline is 60 days. She is to be questioned by a prosecutor, relevant documents are to be filled in and a final decision is taken after that," Polozov said.

The Donetsk City Court in Russia’s southern Rostov Region ruled on March 22 to find Savchenko guilty of directing the pro-Kiev forces’ artillery fire in south-east Ukraine that had killed Russian journalists. She was found guilty of killing Russia’s VGTRK Media Group journalists Igor Kornelyuk and Anton Voloshin and illegally crossing the Russian border.

She was sentenced to 22 years in a general-security penal colony and a fine of 30,000 rubles ($440).

The Savchenko trial began on September 22, 2015.

As the court said in its verdict, Savchenko had "the skills of military training and experience in military actions in Iraq" and "made her own choice while on a holiday to participate in the armed conflict in Ukraine’s south-east and came to the Aidar battalion under commander Sergey Melnichuk, which was located in the town of Schastye in the Lugansk region."

As Savchenko said earlier, she didn’t recognize the court’s verdict but wouldn’t challenge it.

Ukrainian President Pyotr Poroshenko has said he is ready to swap Savchenko for two Russian nationals detained by Ukraine’s army last year.

Kremlin Chief of Staff Sergei Ivanov said on March 25 that the swap of convicted Ukrainian fire controller Savchenko for two Russian nationals currently on trial in Ukraine was theoretically possible but only on decision by President of Russia Vladimir Putin.

The Kremlin chief of staff also said that the Savchenko case had no relation to the Minsk accords on the ceasefire and political settlement in south-east Ukraine.

Russian nationals Alexander Aleksandrov and Yevgeny Yerofeyev were captured by Ukraine’s forces on May 16, 2015, in the Lugansk region, in eastern Ukraine. They are accused of illegal border crossing, illegal possession of arms and involvement in terrorist activity.

Kiev claims the detainees are Russian servicemen. However, the Russian Defense Ministry said the Russians "were not active servicemen of Russia’s Armed Forces at the moment of their detention."

Aleksandrov and Yerofeyev say they are not guilty on any of the charges.

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