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DONETSK /Rostov Region/, October 1. /TASS/. Eyewitness in the case of former Ukrainian pilot Nadezhda Savchenko, Russian traffic police inspector Alexey Tertyshnikov confirmed in court that the defendant was hitchhiking in the central Russian Voronezh Region, a TASS correspondent reported from the courtroom Thursday.
Savchenko, accused of complicity in the murder of Russian journalists near the city of Luhansk in the Luhansk Region in east Ukraine, an attempt to kill and illegal border crossing, as well as her defense, claim she had not crossed the border illegally but had instead been abducted from Ukrainian territory and brought to Russia "with a bag on her head."
Earlier, eyewitness Sergey Bobro said he and his friend picked Savchenko who thumbed a lift at a road 30 kilometers from the village of Kantemirovka, and later the car was stopped by traffic police.
"She said she was a national of Ukraine and was in the border zone without an ID. She said she was going to a railway station. I reported that to a police station, and soon a Federal Security Service [FSB] officer arrived, and the citizen was handed to him," Tertyshnikov said.
He did not specify what the FSB investigator and Savchenko had been talking about as he had not focused attention on that and noted that it was not his competence. He said he had not detained Savchenko and learned about a criminal case against her later from TV news programs.
Consideration of Savchenko’s case on merits started in Russia’s Donetsk City Court September 22.
Savchenko is accused of involvement in the murder of two Russian journalists in the Luhansk Region, as well as illegal crossing of the border with Russia. The materials of her case were separated from the general case on Ukrainian servicemen committing genocide and using banned means and methods of war.
The period of investigation on her case has been extended until November 13. If found guilty, Savchenko faces up to 25 years in prison.
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 Lugansk 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.
The defense says the legal interests of its client in Russia are infringed upon, but Russian federal law enforcement structures flatly deny that.