Russia Charges Female Iraq Veteran Over Ukraine Deaths

Ukrainian pilot Nadiya Savchenko, who was captured by militants last month, was taken to Russia “illegally,” a Ukrainian security official said.

Russia’s detainment of Savchenko, an officer in the Ukrainian army, is “a clear proof of a liaison between terrorists in Ukraine and the Russian authorities,” Andriy Parubiy, secretary of the National Security and Defense Council of Ukraine, told reporters in Washington over a video link from Kiev.

Savchenko was captured trying to enter Russia as a refugee without documents, Russia’s Investigative Committee said today. She’s being held in pretrial detention and charged with complicity in the killing of two Russian reporters by mortar fire last month in eastern Ukraine, according to the Moscow-based law-enforcement agency.

The two Russian TV reporters were killed June 17 after separatists attacked a Ukrainian military base and the army fired back shells. Ukraine has been battling separatists in two eastern regions for more than three months since Russia annexed Crimea in March.

Russia’s foreign ministry 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

Russian investigators say Ukrainian forces targeted the journalists and other civilians after Savchenko identified their location while serving in a battalion called Aidar.

Savchenko, who is being held in Voronezh, according to Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko, has no access to lawyers or relatives, security chief Andriy Parubiy said today.

Ukraine expects Russia to take all steps to “unconditionally” release Savchenko and to have the Ukrainian consul meet with her to provide legal support, Ukraine’s foreign ministry said yesterday.

Kiev has accused the Kremlin of stoking unrest and supplying weapons, military vehicles and mercenaries. Ukrainian forces last weekend scored their biggest military success of the conflict by retaking the rebels’ stronghold in Slovyansk.

President Poroshenko urged international organizations to condemn Russia’s “systematic violation of rights and freedoms of Ukrainians” and to “apply pressure” to Russia to release Savchenko. Poroshenko demanded he be given daily reports concerning the detained pilot.

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