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Savchenko Trial Expected To Finish By End Of Year

Ukrainian military pilot Nadia Savchenko is seen inside a defendants' cage as she attends a court hearing in the Russian city of Donetsk on November 19.

A spokesman for Russia's top investigative agency says the trial of the Ukrainian military officer charged with the murder of two Russian journalists is expected to finish before the end of the year.

Investigative Committee spokesman Vladimir Markin told Russian media on December 4 that he expects a "tough" verdict in the trial of Nadia Savchenko.

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

Savchenko rejects the charges and says she was kidnapped by Russians after being captured by Russian-backed separatists.

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 AP and Interfax