Kremlin warns foreign nations against intervening with Savchenko trial

Ukrainian citizen Nadezhda Savchenko, charged with involvement in the killing of Russian journalists in Donbass, during a hearing at the Donetsk City Court, Rostov Region. © Feodor Larin
Vladimir Putin’s press secretary has said any foreign pressure on Russian courts (including the trial of Ukrainian pilot Nadezhda Savchenko) is “inadmissible and impossible,” after another US attempt to influence judicial decisions.

The [Russian] president has repeatedly given explanations of the situation to his foreign colleagues and on other levels. He stated that here we are talking about a court process and any interference with the work of our courts is inadmissible. It is impossible,” Dmitry Peskov told reporters on Thursday.

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The question and comment were prompted by the latest actions of US President Barack Obama, who urged Putin to release Savchenko during a telephone conversation earlier this week. "President Obama also urged President Putin to release the detained pilot and parliamentarian Nadiya Savchenko in accordance with the Minsk commitment to release all unlawfully detained persons," Will Stevens, spokesman for the US embassy in Moscow, was quoted as saying by Interfax.

Earlier this month, Russian Foreign Ministry spokesperson Maria Zakharova made a statement similar to Peskov’s. She was responding to US State Secretary John Kerry, who had also called for the Russian authorities to free the suspected war criminal “under the Minsk agreements.”

Zakharova also accused the United States of an attempt to influence the Russian judiciary system. She pointed out that the agreements on the ceasefire in eastern Ukraine do not cover such cases as killing press representatives. Kerry must know that “there’s no word in the Minsk agreements about N. Savchenko and her case doesn’t meet the criteria of any of the situations described there,” the Russian diplomat wrote on her Facebook.

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Ukrainian Air Force officer Nadezhda Savchenko is currently on trial in Russia on charges of murder and illegal border crossing. In June 2014, she reported the location of Russian journalists to Ukrainian troops, according to the prosecution. Kiev forces shelled the area, killing two reporters and other civilians.