Ukraine pilot in court over Russian journalist murders
March 21, Moscow: A court in Russian has begun reading a verdict for Ukrainian pilot Nadezhda Savchenko, who is charged with complicity to murder two Russian journalists in war-torn eastern Ukraine.
The judge on Monday quoted arguments by prosecutors who said Savchenko, who served in a volunteer Ukrainian battalion at the time, called in the coordinates for shelling that killed the two journalists and several civilians in July 2014, reports said.
Igor Kornelyuk and Anton Voloshin were employees of a Russian state-owned TV channel when theyhh died in the city of Luhansk in June.
The judge also quoted them as saying she was driven by "political hatred" towards residents of Ukraine's Luhansk region.
The judge in the trial quoted the prosecution saying that Savchenko was part of a "criminal group" and aimed to kill an "unlimited number of people, Al Jazeera reported"
Prosecutors have asked for a 23-year prison sentence for Savchenko. Sentencing is expected on Tuesday.
The Ukrainian officer was captured in the summer of 2014 while fighting against pro-Russia rebels in eastern Ukraine and then smuggled across the border to Russia.
She was part of the Paramilitary Adair battalion, which rights groups have accused of human rights violationssuch as arbitrary detention, extortion, torture and possible executions.
Russia accuses her of working as the artillery spotter who called in the mortar strike that killed the pair, a charge she disputes.
Savchenko's defence team said she was captured by separatists before the attack and that phone records prove she was in rebel hands when the journalists were killed.
The Oslo Times