Five EU states seek sanctions against Russian officials over Savchenko: Lithuania

AFP , Wednesday 9 Mar 2016

Five EU states have proposed sanctions against Russian officials responsible for the trial of hunger-striking Ukrainian military pilot Nadia Savchenko, Lithuanian Foreign Minister Linas Linkevicius said Wednesday.

Savchenko is on trial for alleged involvement in the death of two Russian state television journalists in a mortar attack that occurred two months after Ukraine's pro-Moscow eastern revolt broke out in April 2014.

The 34-year-old Iraq war veteran, who denies the charges, faces up to 23 years in prison if convicted in a case that has drawn global attention and inspired protests.

"Officials directly involved in this fabricated case must face consequences. We see that protests, letters and statements have failed to bring results," Linkevicius told AFP.

The initiative, co-signed by the foreign ministers of Britain, Poland, Romania and Sweden, will be presented to EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini this week.

The proposed "Savchenko list" would require the European Union to introduce visa restrictions and asset freezes on those "responsible for her illegal detention, incarceration and sentencing", Linkevicius said.

Savchenko on Wednesday vowed to continue her hunger strike. She has refused all food and drink since her hearing was adjourned last Thursday before she was given a chance to make a final statement.

The verdict will be handed down on March 21 and 22, according to the judge.

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