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Savchenko Defiant As Trial Starts In Russia

Ukrainian pilot Nadia Savchenko has vehemently denied charges against her at the opening of her trial in Russia.

Addressing a court in the southern Russian town of Donetsk on September 22, Savchenko described the case as a "piece of rubbish."

She faces 25 years in jail if found guilty of complicity in the killing of two Russian journalists in eastern Ukraine in 2014 and of crossing into Russia illegally.

"It's lies, all of it from beginning to end," Savchenko said.

The next hearing is scheduled for September 29.

Savchenko’s plight and defiant stance in captivity have made her a national hero in Ukraine.

The 34-year-old has spent over a year in custody in Russia during which she protested her detention by going on hunger strike for more than 80 days.

She was also elected in absentia to Ukraine's parliament last year.

Based on reporting by AFP and Reuters