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Russian Deputy: Savchenko Cannot Be Released On Immunity Status

A senior Russian lawmaker says immunity granted by the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) is no grounds for the release of a Ukrainian pilot who is in the seventh week of a hunger strike in a Russian jail.

Aleksei Pushkov told journalists on January 26 that PACE's demands for the release of Nadia Savchenko "have no legal grounds" because she is accused of a crime committed before she was elected to Ukraine's parliament.

He spoke after PACE granted Savchenko immunity and PACE members said that status obligates Russia to release her immediately.

Savchenko was captured by pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine last summer and transferred to Russia, where she faces trial on chargtes of involement in the deaths of two Russian journalists killed in the conflict between thed rebels and Ukrainian troops.

Savchenko won a seat in Ukraine's parliament in October and was named as a member of its PACE delegation.

Based on reporting by TASS and Interfax