: Ukrainian pilot Nadiya Savchenko denies all charges during her trial
Politics20:44 Sep. 22, 2015
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Ukrainian pilot Nadiya Savchenko denies all charges during her trial

Journalists were barred from the courtroom

Ukrainian military pilot Nadiya Savchenko has again denied all charges, this time at the opening of her controversial trial in a Russian court in southern Russia.

Read also Happening Now: Ukrainian pilot Savchenko court hearing

Savchenko during the hearing, in which she is accused of involvement in the deaths of two Russian journalists, called the case a "piece of rubbish."

She could face 25 years in jail if found guilty.

The pilot has become a symbol of Ukrainian resistance to Russia.

Read also New drone video proves Ukraine MP Savchenko innocent: Dnipro-1 battalion

There was heavy security at the court on September 22, with armed riot police on guard outside the premises and snipers positioned on the roof of a nearby apartment block. Journalists were barred from the courtroom. Savchenko insisted that she had been kidnapped and smuggled illegally across the border into Russia at the time of her capture while fighting pro-Russian fighters in June 2014.

Most of the public seats in the court were occupied by Cossack militiamen, correspondents say, with the press only allowed to monitor proceedings by a video-link from an adjoining room.

However, three representatives from the European Union, a Ukrainian consul based in Rostov-on-Don and Ms Savchenko's sister Vira were among those who were allowed to attend the hearing.

Savchenko has spent more than a year in custody in Russia during which time she has gone on hunger strike for 80 days in protest over her detention.

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