18:14 09.07.2014

Kyiv suspects Russian secret services of helping bring Ukrainian female pilot to Russia

Kyiv expects the Russian law enforcement agencies to allow visits to Ukrainian pilot Nadia Savchenko, whom Russia has detained on charges of involvement in the deaths of Russian journalists in eastern Ukraine, and promises to appeal to the international community for help in her release, Ukrainian Foreign Ministry's spokesman Yevhen Perebyinis said.

''As soon as permission is given, the Ukrainian consul will immediately leave for Voronezh and meet with her," Perebyinis said at a briefing in Kyiv on Wednesday.

Perebyinis said that the statement of the investigative committee of the Russian Federation that Savchenko voluntarily crossed the border of the Russian Federation looked doubtful.

According to the information obtained by the Foreign Ministry, the pilot was held captive by the militants, and the report that "she was released from captivity, and for some reason was trying to get into the Russian Federation, is absurd," the spokesman said.

"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," Perebyinis said.

The diplomat said that Kyiv would appeal to the international community to help free the pilot.

''We do not rule out that only new tougher sanctions may influence Russia to behave appropriately,'' the Foreign Ministry spokesman said.

According to him, the situation with Savchenko confirms that Russia does not want to de-escalate the situation and to behave in a civilized manner.

He also did not rule out that both Ukraine and Savchenko's relatives might challenge the Russian court ruling in international courts.

Savchenko, a 31-year-old navigator, served with the Ukrainian peacekeeping force in Iraq, after which she graduated from the Ivan Kozhedub Kharkiv Air Force University in 2009.

She was fighting with the Aidar volunteer battalion in eastern Ukraine when she was captured in June near the town of Schastia, a suburb of Luhansk.

It was reported on Wednesday that Savchenko is being held at a detention facility in Voronezh and has been indicted for complicity in murder.

"Investigative bodies have indicted Savchenko for complicity in the killing of VGTRK journalists outside Luhansk," a spokesman for the Russian Investigative Committee said.

The Investigative Committee claims that Savchenko was detained in Russia after crossing the border without documents and pretending to be a refugee.


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