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Ukrainian ex-pilot says never trained for adjusting fire

September 29, 2015, 12:52 UTC+3 DONETSK
Nadezhda Savchenko said she served as an operator of the Mi-24 helicopter and was tasked with performing calculations of flight courses and directions
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Nadezhda Savchenko

Nadezhda Savchenko

© TASS/Valeriy Matytsin

DONETSK/Rostov region/, September 29. /TASS/. Former Ukrainian military pilot Nadezhda Savchenko has acknowledged her involvement in military operations in Donbas, but declined to go into detail during the questioning in a southern Russian court on Tuesday.

"I did not plan and I’m not going to disclose military secret," Savchenko said. The Ukrainian confessed that as an officer she knows what adjusting artillery fire is but she does not know how exactly it is done.

Savchenko said she served as an operator of the Mi-24 helicopter and was tasked with performing calculations of flight courses and directions and clearing for targeting. Savchenko insisted that she never underwent any special training.

Speaking on the citizens of the war-torn Donbas region in eastern Ukraine, Savchenko said she never felt hatred towards them. "I never treat anyone with aggression," she said.

The Ukrainian said she took the decision to join Kiev’s military operation in Donbas independently.

"While on holiday, I went where I should have been. I saw in the Aidar battalion that I could be useful and at least teach the soldiers the military arts," Savchenko 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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