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Russian PACE delegates to seek access of European parliamentarians to Nadezhda Savchenko

January 28, 2015, 15:12 UTC+3
Nadezhda Savchenko is a former pilot of the Ukrainian army currently awaiting trial in Russia on charges of complicity to murder of two Russian journalists in eastern Ukraine this summer
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A poster with a portrait of Ukrainian ex-pilot Savchenko seen during rally in Kiev

A poster with a portrait of Ukrainian ex-pilot Savchenko seen during rally in Kiev

© EPA/ROMAN PILIPEY

STRASBOURG, January 28. /TASS/. Members of the Russian delegation at the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) will be asking the country’s investigative authorities to permit access of European parliamentarians to jailed Ukrainian ex-pilot Nadezhda Savchenko, a senior Russian lawmaker said on Wednesday.

"As a proof of our constructive position our delegation made a decision to turn to the Russian investigative authorities and ask them to allow PACE representatives visit Russia, meet with Nadezhda Savchenko and see for themselves the condition of her health," Alexei Pushkov, the chair of the State Duma’s Committee on Foreign Affairs, told journalists.

According to Pushkov, the Russian delegation "decided to take this step to demonstrate Russia’s constructive approach to cooperation with PACE."

Late last month, Ukraine's parliament, the Verkhovna Rada, elected Savchenko as a member of the country’s delegation to PACE.

Savchenko is a former pilot of the Ukrainian army currently awaiting trial in Russia on charges of complicity to murder of two Russian journalists in eastern Ukraine this summer.

Savchenko was detained in Russia and was taken into custody in the Russian city of Voronezh. Later, she was taken for psychiatric examination to Moscow, where she is being held in custody now.

According to investigators, during hostilities near eastern Ukraine’s Luhansk in June this year, Savchenko, a Mi-24 helicopter flight navigator, joined Ukraine’s volunteer Aidar battalion. She spotted the location of a group of Russian journalists from the VGTRK television channel and other civilians near Lugansk and transmitted the coordinates to a mortar battery. The mortar shell fired at the target killed two members of the Russian camera crew - Igor Kornelyuk and Anton Voloshin.

Savchenko’s lawyers earlier said that the move to include her in Ukraine’s delegation to PACE could be a reason to drop the criminal case in Russia.

Moscow insists she will stand trial and it is for a court to decide whether to release her or not, depending on a verdict of guilty of not guilty.

Savchenko won a seat at Verkhovna Rada in the October 26 parliamentary elections in Ukraine with former Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko's Batkivshchyna party. Her name topped the party’s electoral list.

Russian President Vladimir Putin said at his annual news conference on December 18 that Savchenko would be immediately set free if it turned out that she is innocent, but would be punished if her guilt was proven.

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