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Protesters try to break through to territory of Russian Consulate General in Odessa

March 09, 16:55 UTC+3 ODESSA
Around 100 people took part in the protest in support of former Ukrainian pilot Nadezhda Savchenko who is currently on trial in Russia over the killing of two journalists in Donbass in June 2014
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© EPA/SERGEY DOLZHENKO/Archive

ODESSA, March 9. /TASS/. Protesters have thrown eggs at the building of the Russian Consulate General in Odessa and painted the gates red, a TASS correspondent reported from the scene on Wednesday.

Around 100 people took part in the protest in support of former Ukrainian pilot Nadezhda Savchenko who is currently on trial in Russia over the killing of two journalists in Donbass in June 2014. Among demonstrators were representatives of the so-called "Maidan self-defense," of the Right Sector organization banned in Russia and Azov civilian corps.

A group of demonstrators tried to break through to the territory of the diplomatic mission, "112 Ukraina" TV channel reported. Protesters clashed with guards, the police used batons and tear gas.

Protesters called for closing the Russian diplomatic mission in Odessa. There have been no reports yet on whether anyone was detained.

Radicals scuffle with Ukrainian National Guards near Russian Consulate General in Odessa

According to the acting Consulate General Vitaly Korchagin, Ukrainian extremists have scuffled with Ukraine’s National Guards protecting the territory of Russian Consulate General in Odessa.

"Over 200 people have been protesting near the building since 2pm," Korchagin said adding that among participants were representatives of the so-called "Maidan self-defense" and the Right Sector organization banned in Russia. They "brought barrels and hit them with sticks trying to add the noise and psychological effect to the demonstration," the diplomat noted.

"I went out to them, they handed me the petition [to free former Ukrainian pilot Nadezhda Savchenko]," Korchagin said. "The territory of the consulate is under increased protection of Ukrainian National Guards," he added.

Korchagin said that several incidents occurred during the protest. "The gates were painted," the diplomat noted.

Savchenko is now under trial in the city of Donetsk in Russia’s Rostov region. She is charged under three articles of the Russian Criminal Code "murder", "attempted murder" and "illegal border crossing". The victims in the case are the families of the killed journalists, and in the attempted murder case VGTRK operator Viktor Denisov and a number of residents of Lugansk who came under artillery fire. They refused to participate in the hearing of the sides’ arguments.

The trial against Savchenko began on September 22, 2015. Since July 25, 2015 the defendant has been kept in the SIZO-3 detention facility in Novocherkassk (about 30 km from Rostov-on-Don and 150 km from the Donetsk City Court) from where she is transported to the court hearings. She has been in custody for 1 year and 8 months.

Savchenko, 34, who has been held in Russian custody since July 2014, already went on hunger strike for 83 days last March. Russia’s prosecutor has called for a 23-year prison term and a fine of 100,000 rubles ($1,400) for Savchenko.

Russia’s investigators say Savchenko, the gunner of a Mi-24 helicopter, joined the Aidar militant 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) died in the shelling.

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