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Ukrainian Officer Detained In Russia Details Her Capture To Consul

Ukrainian pilot Nadiya Savchenko, says she was captured near Luhansk on June 18 before being transported to Russia in handcuffs and with a sack over her head.

A Ukrainian Air Force officer who is being detained in Russia has given details of her capture to Ukraine's consul, saying she was captured by pro-Russian separatists on Ukrainian soil and forcibly transported to Russia.

Senior Lieutenant Nadiya Savchenko, 33, has been indicted in Russia for her alleged complicity in the killing of two Russian journalists on June 17 near Luhansk during the Ukrainian Army's offensive against the rebels.

Ukrainian Consul Hennadiy Breskalenko was allowed to meet with Savchenko for the first time on July 16 at a detention center in the southwestern Russian city of Voronezh.

Breskalenko said Savchenko, a helicopter navigator, told him that she was captured near Luhansk on June 18 before being transported to Russia in handcuffs and with a sack over her head.

Russian authorities had rejected Breskalenko's requests to meet with Savchenko nine times before allowing him to do so.

Breskalenko said Savchenko told him she had to go on an eight-day hunger strike before being allowed to meet with him.

She told him that she had "no complaints regarding the conditions of her current detention" and that she had not been mistreated.

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Russia's Investigative Committee said last week that Savchenko had been detained on Russian territory, where she had entered "without any documents, pretending to be a Ukrainian refugee."

On July 9, a court in Voronezh ordered Savchenko to be held in pretrial detention until August 30.

Meanwhile, Kyiv has insisted that Savchenko was captured by "terrorists" and illegally transferred to Russia. Ukraine has officially demanded Savchenko's immediate and unconditional release.

Savchenko's lawyer, Mark Feygin, said on Twitter on July 17 that he was filing a complaint with the Russian Investigative Committee citing Article 126 of the Criminal Code, which prohibits the kidnapping of foreign nationals from their home territory.

Feygin also said that Ella Pamfilova, Russia's human rights commissioner, had visited Savchenko in her holding cell in Voronezh.

In a statement on July 17, the EU's foreign-policy chief, Catherine Ashton, said she was "concerned" by Savchenko's transfer and imprisonment on Russian territory, following her "kidnapping" by militants. Ashton said the issue raised questions about Russia's respect for its international obligations.

"We call on the Russian Federation to abide by its obligations as a member state of the Council of Europe and party of the European Convention on Human Rights," Ashton said. "In that context, we welcome that Ukraine's consul in the Russian Federation has been able to meet with her."

Savchenko, who has served in the Ukrainian armed forces for 10 years, last month joined the volunteer Aidar Battalion, which has been involved in Kyiv's military offensive against pro-Russian rebels in the east.

With reporting by and UNIAN
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