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Former Ukrainian pilot Savchenko asks to change decision to send her case to Donetsk court

July 16, 2015, 21:57 UTC+3
Taking into account the situation in eastern Ukraine, Savchenko says, she doubts the Russian authorities’ ability to ensure her security and the security of other participants of the process
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Nadezhda Savchenko

Nadezhda Savchenko

© Vyacheslav Prokofyev/TASS

MOSCOW, July 16. /TASS/. Former Ukrainian pilot Nadezhda Savchenko on Thursday asked Russia’s Prosecutor General’s Office to change the jurisdiction of her criminal case consideration and transfer the court proceedings to Moscow, her lawyer Mark Feygin said.

"I am asking you to interfere in accordance with the procedure established by law and change the earlier adopted decision on defining the jurisdiction of the case consideration in the town of Donetsk [Rostov Region]," Savchenko’s application says.

It says that her "lawyers will soon file an official request to change the territorial jurisdiction of the case to the city of Moscow."

The defendant said that taking into account the situation in the Donetsk People’s Republic and the Luhansk People’s Republic, holding the court proceedings in the Donetsk town court will "create a serious threat to the life and health of my lawyers, sister Vera who, as the key witness for defense, is subject to summonsing to court, my mother who is going to attend the trial."

Savchenko doubted the Russian authorities’ ability to ensure her security and the security of other participants of the process.

Besides, the application underscores that none of the affected persons permanently lives in the Rostov Region, while all expert examinations on the case have been held in Moscow.

In connection with that, Savchenko said, summonsing the affected persons and experts to the Donetsk court will be objectively hindered, "and in case they do not come my right to defense will be violated."

Savchenko is accused of involvement in the murder of two Russian journalists in Ukraine's eastern Luhansk Region last summer, as well as illegal crossing of the border with the Russian Federation. The materials of her case were separated from the general case on Ukrainian servicemen committing genocide and using banned means and methods of war. She has been arraigned.

The period of investigation on her case has been extended until November 13. If found guilty, Savchenko faces up to 25 years in prison. Earlier her lawyers told TASS their client asked her case to be considered by a jury.

Nadezhda Savchenko case

An investigator said in early July that Savchenko and her lawyers have got familiarized with the case materials, and they would soon sign a relevant protocol. After familiarization, the case was to be handed to the prosecutor’s office for approval of indictment and later passed to court.

According to investigators, during combat operations near the eastern Ukrainian city of Luhansk on June 17, 2014, Savchenko, who was an officer of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, from the location of the Aidar battalion — a paramilitary group of Ukraine’s Interior Ministry — in the vicinity of the village of Metallist secretly adjusted artillery fire on a section of the Luhansk People’s Republic militia's roadblock with civilians, including three Russian journalists.

As a result, VGTRK journalists Igor Kornelyuk and Anton Voloshin were killed.

Savchenko does not admit her guilt.

After a coup occurred in Ukraine in February 2014, mass protests soon erupted in Ukraine’s south-east, where local residents, mostly Russian speakers, did not recognize the coup-imposed authorities, formed militias and started fighting for their rights.

In response, Kiev in April 2014 announced the start of "an antiterrorism operation" in east Ukraine, which involved the Armed Forces, the Interior Ministry’s National Guard and volunteer battalions made up of Euromaidan activists, many of whom hold far-right and neo-Nazi views.

Ukrainian troops have been engaged in fierce fighting with local militias during Kiev’s punitive operation, underway since mid-April 2014, against the breakaway territories — the Donetsk and Luhansk people's republics constituting parts of the Donetsk and Luhansk regions of Ukraine.

Massive shelling of residential neighborhoods, including with the use of aviation, has killed thousands and led to a humanitarian disaster in the area.

Kiev has regularly violated the ceasefire regime imposed as part of the Package of Measures on implementation of the September 2014 Minsk agreements.

The Package (Minsk-2) was signed on February 12, 2015 in the Belarusian capital Minsk by participants of the Contact Group on settlement in Donbas. In line with the document, cannon artillery with calibers of 100 millimeters and more was to be withdrawn from the disengagement line to a distance of 50 kilometers.

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