Nadiya Savchenko’s defence hopes for a swap of prisoners


Vera Savchenko, sister of the Ukrainian officers who is now in detention in Russia after being captured in Ukraine by Kremlin-backed militants says that Nadiya may be released through an exchange of prisoners.

At a press briefing she explained that her sister’s lawyers are hoping that Nadiya can be brought back to Ukraine in exchange for the release of Russian security service officers.   This would enable Russia to save face over the issue.  Vera Savchenko says that there can be no illusions about her sister getting a fair trial and proving her innocence in Russia.

Savchenko was taken prisoner in the Luhansk oblast by militants from the self-proclaimed Luhansk People’s Republic on June 17 or 18.  Two days later a video appeared of her being interrogated by the militants. She demonstrated courage during the interrogation and refused to provide the information the militants demanded.

On July 2 a Russian court remanded her in custody until August 30.  Russia’s Investigative Committee announced on July 9 that charges had been laid against Savchenko for alleged “complicity in the group killing of two or more people carrying out official activities in a publicly hazardous manner for motives of political hatred”.

The investigators claim that in June, as a member of the Aidar Battalion, Savchenko found out the whereabouts of a group of TV Rossiya journalists and other civilians outside Luhansk, and passed these to fighters who carried out a mortar attack which killed TV Rossiya employees Igor Kornelyuk and Anton Voloshin.

They also assert that Savchenko crossed the Russian border, without any documents, pretending to be a refugee.  They allege that she was initially detained to establish her identity.

This story is totally denied by Savchenko who says she was forcibly taken across the border with a bag over her head and in handcuffs.   The Russian investigators’ version is also wildly implausible.  More details about the holes in the case, and the use of Russian TV to try to conceal them here:

Russian TV helps prosecution in Nadiya Savchenko case

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