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Former Ukrainian pilot Savchenko’s sister banned from visiting Russia — lawyer

October 13, 2015, 18:56 UTC+3 MOSCOW
As Vera Savchenko is unable to enter the country, Nadezhda has lost the only one witness for the defense, lawyer Mark Feigin says
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Vera Savchenko

Vera Savchenko

© TASS/Valeriy Matytsin

MOSCOW, October 13. /TASS/. A sister of former Ukrainian pilot Nadezhda Savchenko accused of involvement in the murder of two Russian journalists in eastern Ukraine Donbas region was banned from visiting Russia for five years, Savchenko’s lawyer told TASS on Tuesday.

"Nadezhda Savchenko’s sister has called, saying she was banned from visiting Russia till 2020," Mark Feigin said. "I suppose this has been done for national security reasons."

According to the lawyer, Vera Savchenko was told at Russia-Ukraine border that the Federal Security Service (FSB) prohibited her visiting Russia.

"As Vera Savchenko is unable to enter the country, Nadezhda has lost the only one witness for the defense," Feigin said, adding that his defendant’s rights had been violated.

"We will appeal the FSB decision to ban Vera Savchenko from entering Russia," he said.

Savchenko, 34, is charged with complicity in the murder of two Russian journalists in eastern Ukraine last summer. Savchenko also stands charged with attempted murder of civilians who could suffer as a result of artillery fire and illegally crossing the Russian border.

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 in June 2014.

Upon noting the position of a filming crew of the Russian State Broadcasting Company and other civilians, Savchenko allegedly reported the data to mortar-equipped personnel who opened fire on the crew and the civilians. As a result, correspondent Igor Kornelyuk and sound engineer Anton Voloshin were killed.

If found guilty, Savchenko faces up to 25 years in prison.

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