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MOSCOW, July 22. /TASS/. A preliminary hearing has been set for July 30 in the case against Ukrainian army pilot Nadezhda Savchenko, jailed on charges of complicity in the murder of two Russian journalists in Ukraine last year.
According to Savchenko's lawyer Mark Feigin, former Ukrainian pilot’s trial will last for less than a month.
"I think that the court will issue its verdict on the case before the beginning of September," Feigin said.
Defense lawyers will question several people as the majority of witnesses are residing in Ukraine. "I don’t think that prosecutors will have many witnesses, everything will go fast," the lawyer noted adding that Savchenko herself will testify before the court as well.
Her lawyers say they hope that the leader of the self-proclaimed Luhansk People’s Republic, Igor Plotnitsky, will be summoned to appear before the Donetsk city court in Russia’s southern Rostov region as a witness for the prosecution.
"I have not seen the list of the prosecution's witnesses yet, but Plotnitsky is the key prosecution witness. That’s why I think he should be summoned to appear before the court," defense lawyer Mark Feigin said, adding that the defense also had some questions to ask him.
Feigin noted that Plotnitsky’s evidence revealed a number of inconsistencies and the defense wanted to clarify them during the hearing.
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, as well as illegal crossing of the border with the Russian Federation. If found guilty, she could face up to 25 years in prison. The former pilot does not admit her guilt.
Russian investigators say that Savchenko, the gunner of a Mi-24 helicopter, joined the notorious Aidar battalion during combat operations in the much-troubled Lugansk region of Ukraine last June.
Upon noting the position of a filming crew of the Russian State Broadcasting Company and other civilians, the 33-year-old believably reported the data to mortar-equipped personnel who opened fire at the crew and the civilians. As a result, correspondent Igor Kornelyuk and sound engineer Anton Voloshin were killed.