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Russian lawmakers say Ukraine sanctions call over Savchenko case is ‘collective madness’

April 22, 2015, 19:00 UTC+3 MOSCOW
Ukraine's parliament recommended that Ukraine's national security and defense council should impose sanctions against Russian citizens involved "in the illegal detention" of ex-pilot Savchenko
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© Vyacheslav Prokofyev/TASS

MOSCOW, April 22. /TASS/. Russian lawmakers on Wednesday dismissed as "collective madness" Ukraine’s calls for sanctions against Russian individuals over the case against Ukrainian ex-pilot Nadezhda Savchenko, currently under arrest in Moscow.

The Ukrainian parliament’s initiative is "groundless" and "legally inept", said Leonid Slutsky, chairing the State Duma's committee on Commonwealth of Independent States Affairs, Eurasian Integration and Ties with Compatriots.

"It has been said more than once at the highest level in Russia that if Savchenko's guilt of complicity in the murder of two Russian journalists doesn't find proof, she will be immediately released," Slutsky, who has also been placed on the new sanctions list, told journalists.

He said the Verkhovna Rada had better called for an impartial investigation into the murder of Ukrainian journalist and notable critic of the incumbent authorities Oles Buzina, adding that Ukrainian lawmakers’ reaction to political killings in their country had in fact been quite restrained.

Frants Klintsevich, first deputy head of the ruling United Russia party, dubbed the Rada’s calls for restrictive measures targeting Russian officials "collective madness" stemming from "Russophobia".

"It is basically impossible to comment on the Verkhovna Rada’s decree," Klintsevich said. "This is just a sort of collective madness on grounds of Russophobia"

On Wednesday, Ukraine's Verkhovna Rada recommended that Ukraine's national security and defense council should impose sanctions against Russian citizens involved "in the illegal detention" of Savchenko, jailed on charges of aiding the murder of two Russian journalists in east Ukraine last year.

The blacklist includes 35 individuals, including Russian President Vladimir Putin, Director of the Russian Federal Security Service (FSB) Alexander Bortnikov and Chairman of Russia's Investigative Committee Alexander Bastrykin, as well as several Russian deputies, investigators, prosecutors, judges and representatives of other government agencies.

The Ukrainian parliament on Wednesday also appealed to international organisations, inter-parliamentary assemblies and governments to introduce similar sanctions against Russian individuals.

Savchenko is accused in Russia of involvement in a mortar attack that killed two Russian state TV journalists on eastern Ukraine's frontlines, where she enlisted as a volunteer in one of the battalions fighting against local militias.

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