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Ukraine pilot Nadia Savchenko faces 25-year term in Russia

Charges against 34-year-old upgraded from accessory to "joint perpetrator."

By
Jared M. Feldschreiber
Nadia Savchenko, the 34-year-old Ukrainian military pilot and former first lieutenant of the Ukrainian army who had been captured by pro-Russian rebels in eastern Ukraine and handed over to Russia, had previously been charged with being complicit to the killing of two journalists. She now faces charges that carry a 25-year prison term. File Photo courtesy of Facebook
Nadia Savchenko, the 34-year-old Ukrainian military pilot and former first lieutenant of the Ukrainian army who had been captured by pro-Russian rebels in eastern Ukraine and handed over to Russia, had previously been charged with being complicit to the killing of two journalists. She now faces charges that carry a 25-year prison term. File Photo courtesy of Facebook

DONETSK, Ukraine, July 13 (UPI) -- Nadia Savchenko, the 34-year-old former first lieutenant of the Ukrainian army captured by pro-Russian rebels and handed over to Russia, previously charged with being complicit in the killing of two journalists, now faces charges that carry a 25-year prison term.

Savchenko has seen her charge of accessory to murder upgraded to a "joint perpetrator of murder," according to the Russian courts.

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Mark Feygin, Savchenko's lawyer, tweeted that she will be tried in a border town in southern Russia.

Feygin tweeted that "the Kremlin went on the worst possible option in the case of Savchenko, sending to the court of the city of Donetsk, Rostov region... actually it is not surprising."

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Savchenko -- a symbol of the resistance to Russia's incursion into eastern Ukraine -- was captured during fighting with separatists

"She will not to be tried not as an accessory but as a joint perpetrator of the murder of two or more persons by means [of] posing danger to the public, motivated by hatred toward a social group and carried out by a group of persons acting in collusion," Russian Investigations Committee spokesman Vladimir Markin told Interfax. As a result, Markin said her actions had to be "reassessed," BBC News reported.

Savchenko has denied all charges, and Ukrainian and EU authorities have called for her release. A worldwide campaign on social media has also sought her immediate release.

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Savchenko has been at the forefront of a media war during the volatile conflict in eastern Ukraine. #Saveourgirl generated more than 5,000 tweets. One such tweet: "How dare the Kremlin kidnap people out of Ukraine?!" State-run Rossiya 1 TV news countered with: "Nadezhda has obviously been turned into a zombie and has a very negative attitude to all Russia-related things."

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