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Ukrainian consul allowed to meet with jailed pilot Savchenko

July 16, 2014, 18:20 UTC+3 VORONEZH
July 9, Russia’s Investigative Committee charged Savchenko with involvement in the murder of two Russian journalists
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Ukrainian activists hold a banner during a rally demanding the release of Ukrainian officer Nadezhda Savchenko in Kiev

Ukrainian activists hold a banner during a rally demanding the release of Ukrainian officer Nadezhda Savchenko in Kiev

© EPA/ROMAN PILIPEY

VORONEZH, July 16. /ITAR-TASS/. Ukraine’s consul in the Russian Federation, Gennady Breskalenko, will soon be able to visit his country’s national Nadezhda Savchenko, suspected of involvement in the murder of two Russian journalists, the Federal Penitentiary Service’s department in the central Voronezh Region reported Wednesday.

In order to visit the suspect, who is in a pre-trial detention facility of the city of Voronezh, the Ukrainian consul in Russia or another person, except for a representative of defense, needed to obtain permission of Russia’s Investigative Committee whose employees are investigating her case, the department’s spokesman Sergei Kurenkov told ITAR-TASS.

The required documents were submitted to the Penitentiary Service’s department in the afternoon and the diplomat will meet with the accused soon, Kurenkov said.

Savchenko is in the Voronezh jail after the Novousmansky district court ruled to arrest her. She was handed procedural documents on the case in her native language. She has three days to get familiarized with the case materials, after which she may file a complaint against her arrest to the regional court personally.

If she has no objections, the regional court will consider an appeal of her defense against the district court’s ruling in the middle of next week.

July 9, Russia’s Investigative Committee charged Savchenko with involvement in the murder of two Russian journalists. She was detained on Russian territory.

Investigators say that during combat operations near the eastern Ukrainian city of Luhansk in June, Savchenko, who was a gunner for a Mil Mi-24 (NATO reporting name: Hind) helicopter gunship, joined the Aidar battalion — a paramilitary group of Ukraine’s Interior Ministry fighting against federalization supporters in Ukraine’s embattled Southeast.

Learning the coordinates of the location of a group of Russian journalists and other civilians near Luhansk, she handed them to militants, who opened mortar fire killing All-Russia State Television and Radio Broadcasting Company (VGTRK) special correspondent Igor Kornelyuk and cameraman Anton Voloshin.

Kornelyuk and Voloshin were killed by mortar fire on June 17 near Luhansk, a place of combat clashes between Ukrainian military forces and militia. They were filming a report on people’s self-defense soldiers taking refugees from the danger area. Their cameraman, Viktor Denisov, was lucky to escape death as he was at a distance from the TV crew. All the reporters were wearing signs marked PRESS.

Pro-Kiev troops and local militias in the southeastern Ukrainian Donetsk and Luhansk regions are involved in fierce clashes as the Ukrainian armed forces are conducting a military operation to regain control over the breakaway regions, which on May 11 proclaimed their independence at local referendums.

During the military operation, conducted since mid-April, Kiev has used armored vehicles, heavy artillery and attack aviation. According to Ukraine’s Health Ministry, 478 civilians have been killed and 1,392 wounded in it. Many buildings have been destroyed and tens of thousands of people have had to flee Ukraine’s war-torn Southeast.

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