Rossiyskaya gazeta: The Donetsk Court sentences Savchenko to 22 years in prison

Former Ukrainian serviceperson Nadezhda Savchenko has been found guilty of death of journalists of the Russian State Broadcasting Company (VGTRK) in Donbass in 2014. The Donetsk City Court of Rostov Region consented to the arguments made by the prosecution on Tuesday and sentenced her to 22 years in a minimum-security penal colony and a fine of 30,000 rubles. This finished the notorious case.

The Federal Penitentiary Service reported earlier that before the sentence enters its legal force the accused was going to be kept in a detention center in Rostov Region. However, both Savchenko and her lawyers said that they were not going to appeal against the sentence.

Her prison term is counted from the moment when the accused was actually apprehended on 30 June 2014, which means that Savchenko will spend in colony 20 years and 3 months.

“The Prosecutor General’s Office is satisfied with the sentence passed on Nadezhda Savchenko today, especially considering the gravity of her crimes: participation in the murder of civilians and illegal crossing of the state border,” said the official spokesperson for the inspectorate Aleksandr Kurennoi.

The court revealed today that in the summer 2014, Savchenko directed the artillery guns to shell buildings in Luhansk region, where civilians were. “The investigation and court have revelaed that during the armed actions near Luhansk in June 2014 Savchenko learnt coordinates of the team of Russian journalists and other civilians and passed them on to Ukrainian military forces,” the official spokesperson of the Investigative Committee comments the sentence. “Those were the coordinates shelled by the Ukrainian militaries killing journalists of the Russian State Broadcasting Company Igor Kornelyuk and Anton Voloshin. Other civilians who were near them could have been wounded as well. Nadezhda Savchenko was detained after she had voluntarily crossed the Russia-Ukraine border without documents.”

The motives of the crimes were hatred to a social group of residents in Luhansk region and to Russian-speaking people in general, the sentence says.

The alibi of the Ukrainian pilot was not proved during the trial, said judge Leonid Stepanenko. The court found no extenuating or aggravating circumstances, but dismissed the charges of shelling civilians in Luhansk region for lack of jurisdiction.

The court filed different kinds of witness evidence, heard the relatives of the killed journalists, military experts and eye-witnesses of the shelling.

Savchenko denied the charges. According to her, she will not appeal against the sentence. Moreover, she was going to go on a dry hunger strike in early April, her lawyers said. They say that they are trying to reason with her, but she has decided to do it long before, “whatever the sentence”. During the hearing Savchenko acted rudely trying hard to demonstrate her indifference to the verdict. As the judge pronounced her guilty, she broke into a Ukrainian song, and interrupted the reading of the sentence.

Mr. Markin says that the only important point, the defense built their tactics around was proving that Savchenko had been detained by revels prior to the death of the Russian journalists. “First, the defense filed a motion to consider conclusions made by Ukrainian experts and then even involved some Russian specialists who did their orders for money. However, it was revealed during the trial that astronomer Vozyakova, who analyzed videos, made some obvious mistakes in her calculations of the possible period when they had been made, which could be a sign of fudging the data to make them agree with result needed to the defense. And by the way, during a questioning in the court, she explained that she had written her conclusion together with the lawyer of the accused, which is absolutely inacceptable. The investigators presented to the court the evidence that refuted the arguments of the defense altogether,” he added. 

Aleksandr Gavrilenko