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Series of rallies demanding release of Nadezhda Savchenko held across Ukraine

March 06, 22:13 UTC+3 KIEV
The rallies were held in Kiev, Kharkov, Odessa, Zaporozhye, Kherson and other cities. Local media say from a dozen to several hundred protesters took part in these rallies
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© TASS/Artyom Geodakyan

KIEV, March 6. /TASS/. A series of rallies demanding release of a Ukrainian woman pilot, Nadezhda Savchenko, who has been held in custody in Russia since July 2014 on charges of the murder of Russian journalists, were held across Ukraine on Sunday. Most of them were conducted peacefully but in Kiev protesters attacked the Russian embassy.

The rallies were held in Kiev, Kharkov, Odessa, Zaporozhye, Kherson and other cities. Local media say from a dozen to several hundred protesters took part in these rallies. The protesters were carrying Savchenko’s portraits and posters with anti-Russian slogans.

In Kiev, several hundred protesters marched down from the central Independent Square to the building of the Russian embassy. They threw eggs and stones at the embassy breaking its windows and surveillance cameras. Several protesters tried to break through into the embassy’s territory.

Overnight to Sunday, the Russian embassy in Kiev was attacked by people in fatigues and facial masks armed with baseball bats. They damaged the embassy’s cars. "They damaged greatly three cars," Grishin said. "Besides, they threw several blasting cartridges onto the territory of the Russian diplomatic mission." He said the attackers were clearly well equipped and the attack had been staged.

Russia’s embassy in Ukraine presented a note of protest to the Ukrainian foreign ministry in following the attack. So far, according to a ministry spokesman, no response has been received from the Ukrainian side.

The police in Kiev initiated criminal proceedings on charges of hooliganism, which carry a punishment of up to four years in prison.

Russia’s prosecutor has called for a 23-year prison term and a fine of 100,000 rubles (1,400 U.S. dollars) for Savchenko. She is charged with murder, attempted murder and illegal border crossing.

Russia’s investigators say Savchenko, the gunner of a Mi-24 helicopter, joined the notorious Aidar paramilitary battalion and in June 2014 conducted covert surveillance and direction of artillery bombarding targeting a checkpoint in the much-troubled Lugansk region. The settlement was full of civilians, including three Russian journalists.

Two Russian journalists - Igor Kornelyuk and Anton Voloshin - from the All-Russian Television and Radio Broadcasting Network (VGTRK) were killed in the shelling.

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