July 10 (Bloomberg) -- Russia denied snatching a Ukrainian female pilot to put her on trial, insisting it doesn’t follow the U.S. practice of rendition of prisoners after the government in Kiev said she was taken across the border illegally.
“This is completely different from the extra-territorial methods used by the U.S. in pursuing foreign citizens and whisking them away, as happened recently with Roman Seleznev, under U.S. law,” Russian Foreign Ministry spokesman Alexander Lukashevich told reporters in Moscow today.
Seleznev, the son of a Russian lawmaker, was forced by U.S. agents aboard a plane operated by a private company in the Maldives on July 5 and flown to the U.S territory of Guam in the Pacific Ocean, according to Russian authorities. He was ordered detained two days ago at a federal court in Guam on charges of selling credit card information he allegedly stole by hacking into the computers of U.S. retailers.
Russia’s detainment of Nadiya Savchenko, an officer in the Ukrainian army who served in Iraq and was captured by pro-Russian separatists in east Ukraine last month, is “clear proof of a liaison between terrorists in Ukraine and the Russian authorities,” Andriy Parubiy, secretary of the National Security and Defense Council, told reporters yesterday in Washington over a video link from Kiev.
Russia, which is accused by Ukraine of stoking a three-month rebellion by pro-Moscow rebels in the east of the country, said yesterday it had charged the pilot with complicity in the deaths of two Russian reporters.
Savchenko was captured trying to enter Russia as a refugee, Russia’s Investigative Committee said yesterday. She’s being held in pretrial detention in the city of Voronezh, where a court today ordered that she be held in prison until the end of August, according to the Russian Foreign Ministry.
“She was abducted and the reaction of the Ukrainian authorities will be very tough,” Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko said in a website statement today. “This is a violation of all international agreements, all norms of law and is unacceptable.” Poroshenko said he ordered a new lawyer for Savchenko.
Her court-appointed lawyer, Nikolai Shulzhenko, said he doesn’t know the circumstances of how Savchenko entered Russia, the BBC reported.
“Her case will be decided under the law, taking into account the fact that she ended up on Russian territory and we have the perfect right to prosecute foreign citizens in our own country,” Lukashevich said.
The ministry in Moscow said Igor Kornelyuk, a correspondent for All-Russia State Television and Radio Broadcasting Company, and sound producer Anton Voloshin were killed by Ukrainian soldiers who fired a mortar shell in an area with no military targets. Ukrainian officials said the reporters did not comply with safety requirements and weren’t accredited.
Russian investigators say Ukrainian forces targeted the journalists and other civilians after Savchenko identified their location while serving in a battalion called Aidar.
Russia, which annexed Ukraine’s Crimea peninsula in March, has been supplying weapons, military vehicles and mercenaries to stoke the insurrection, according to the authorities in Kiev. Ukrainian forces last weekend scored their biggest military success of the conflict by retaking the rebels’ stronghold in Slovyansk.
Russia has denounced the U.S. practice of arresting Russian citizens in third countries and extraditing them. Last year, the foreign ministry warned Russian citizens against travel to nations that have extradition treaties with the U.S. “if they have reasons to believe U.S. law-enforcement agencies may have any claims against them.”
To contact the reporter on this story: Henry Meyer in Moscow at firstname.lastname@example.org
To contact the editors responsible for this story: Balazs Penz at email@example.com James Kraus