21:46 GMT18 January 2021
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    Moscow will not raise the issue of transferring Ukrainian national Nadezhda Savchenko to Kiev before the curt verdict, the Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman said.

    MOSCOW (Sputnik) — Moscow has never discussed the transfer of Nadezhda Savchenko, the Ukrainian national on trial in Russia, to Kiev and the issue will not be raised until the court verdict, Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said in a televised interview broadcast on Saturday.

    "[The transfer of Savchenko to Ukraine] is not under discussion and has never been while the court ruling is pending. And no matter what pressure is put on the Russian justice, on the Russian public opinion, the trial will be brought to the end, and a verdict will be made," Zakharova said on Russia’s Vesti v Subbotu weekly news program.

    On Wednesday, Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko said that Kiev had not received any proposals on exchanging Savchenko but the head of state himself was "ready to exercise his constitutional right and to exchange Nadezhda and do everything possible to return her home as soon as possible."

    Savchenko is suspected of helping to direct artillery fire near the eastern Ukrainian city of Lugansk on June 17, 2014, that led to the deaths of two Russian journalists, Igor Kornelyuk and Anton Voloshin.

    Russian prosecutors are seeking a 23-year prison sentence for Savchenko. The 34-year-old Ukrainian citizen denies all the allegations. A court ruling in the case is expected to be announced on March 21-22.


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