Ukrainian pilot Savchenko guilty of Russian journalists’ murder, illegal border crossing
Nadezhda Savchenko, a Ukrainian Air Force officer detained in Russia in 2014, is guilty of murdering two Russian journalists near Lugansk, eastern Ukraine, and of illegally crossing the Russian border, a court in the southern Russian town of Donetsk ruled.
“Savchenko committed murder in collusion with a group of persons motivated by hatred and enmity,”the judge’s ruling said. The court is due to read its verdict over two days on Monday and Tuesday.
Savchenko committed crimes motivated by hatred towards the Russian-speaking population, the court stated.
“The motive for the crimes committed by the accused were hatred and hostility towards the Lugansk Region inhabitants, and towards Russian-speaking people as a whole,” the ruling stated.
The organizer of the Russian journalists’ murder is Aidar Battalion Commander Melnichuk, the Russian court ruled.
According to the prosecutors, Savchenko was a gunner on an Aidar battalion helicopter and reported the location of the two Russian journalists, Igor Kornelyuk and Anton Voloshin, to Kiev troops, who then shelled the area outside Lugansk.
The attack resulted in the deaths of the journalists and other civilians. After that Savchenko, allegedly illegally crossed the border into Russia.