Ukraine Accuses Russia of Kidnapping Female Pilot

She has been charged with murder in deaths of 2 journalists
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 10, 2014 12:15 AM CDT
Ukrainian army officer Nadezhda Savchenko, 33, speaks to journalists shortly after her capture in Luhansk, Ukraine last month.   (AP Photo/Igor Golovniov)

(Newser) – Russia has charged a Ukrainian military pilot with murder in the deaths of two Russian journalists killed in an attack at a rebel roadblock last month—but how she came to be in Russian custody is fiercely disputed. Moscow says Nadiya Savchenko, variously reported to be 31 or 33, was arrested after she tried to cross into Russia disguised as a refugee, but Kiev calls that claim "absurd" and says she was abducted by pro-Russia militants who captured her and handed over to Russian custody, the Los Angeles Times reports.

"We have every reason to suspect that she was brought to Russia as the result of an agreement or a joint operation between the terrorists and the Russian secret services," Ukraine's foreign ministry says, accusing Russia of violating "not only all the norms of international law, but also the basic rules of decency and morality." Savchenko, a helicopter pilot, was fighting with a pro-government volunteer militia when the two journalists died in the June 17 attack near Luhansk, reports the BBC. Russia accuses her of tipping off Ukrainian troops to the whereabouts of the journalists. She is now in a pre-trial detention center in Russia, and Ukrainian diplomats say they have not been allowed to see her. This week, the separatists in eastern Ukraine have retreated toward the city of Donetsk for what could be their last stand.

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