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Ukraine to keep seeking Savchenko release — Poroshenko's spokesman

March 21, 2016, 19:52 UTC+3 DONETSK (Rostov region)

"Savchenko’s release is envisaged in the Minsk agreements, and the fact that she has not been freed yet means Russia is violating them," Ukrainian president's spokesman says

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DONETSK (Rostov region), March 21. /TASS/. Ukraine will continue seeking the release of former Ukrainian pilot Nadezhda Savchenko, who was found guilty on Monday in the case of two Russian journalists killed by mortar fire, President Petro Poroshenko’s spokesman said on Monday after arriving at the Donetsk city court in Russia’s southern Rostov region, where trial is under way.

"We don’t desert our fellow countrymen. We fight and will keep fighting to see her release," said Svyatoslav Tsegolko. He said "Savchenko’s release is envisaged in the Minsk agreements, and the fact that she has not been freed yet means Russia is violating them," he said, speaking in Ukrainian.

Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said earlier that the Minsk agreements did not refer to Savchenko.

"The Minsk agreements do not contain a single word about Savchenko and her case is not subject to any item prescribed in them," she said. "The Minsk agreements refer to two conflicting sides in the Ukrainian crisis - the official Kiev and Donbass," she said.

The Rostov region's Donetsk court on Monday confirmed Nadezhda Savchenko is guilty of death of Russian journalists near Ukraine's Lugansk on three counts - murder, attempted murder and illegal border crossing.

According to the prosecution, Savchenko, an officer of the Ukrainian armed forces on June 17, 2014 was in the area controlled by the paramilitary battalion Aidar near the village of Metallist, the Lugansk Region. She was conducting concealed observation and adjusting artillery fire against a roadblock held by militias of the self-proclaimed Lugansk People’s Republic and a group of civilians there, including three Russian journalists. The artillery bombardment killed two of them - Igor Kornelyuk and Anton Voloshin.

The prosecutor has asked the court to sentence Savchenko to 23 years in a standard security penitentiary and a fine of 100,000 rubles.

Savchenko pled not guilty, saying she had never killed unarmed people.

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