Ukraine's Rada committee approves arrest of Savchenko

Ukraine's Rada committee approves arrest of Savchenko

Less than two years after being celebrated in Ukraine for her defiance toward Russian captors as a prisoner of war, opposition lawmaker Nadia Savchenko is defending herself against accusations that the former military aviator was planning a terror attack on the Ukrainian parliament.

Parliament passed the law against bearing weapons in the chamber on Tuesday, after the prosecutor general, Yuri V. Lutsenko, accused Ms. Savchenko of plotting a coup that would include an attack on Parliament.

Some veterans, including Ms. Savchenko, who was captured in 2014 and tried in Russian Federation before being freed in a prisoner exchange, have become fierce critics of the government, which they accuse of corruption and other shortcomings.

She says undercover agents seeking to discredit her had encouraged her to plan to overthrow the government and that she had played along to bring the authorities' schemes to public notice. Still, she said the plot was a "provocation", the BBC reported.

The Committee on Rules of Procedure and Organization of Work of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine on Thursday gave its permit for deprivation of the parliamentary immunity and arrest of lawmaker Nadezhda Savchenko, the Prosecutor General of Ukraine Yury Lutsenko stated on Facebook.

A court was to consider putting her in custody later in the day.

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Ms. Savchenko has said that she needed the weapons for self-defense, and that the police officials who secretly recorded a conversation in which she discussed an attack on Parliament had misconstrued her words.

She was warmly embraced by Ukraine's political elite, welcomed in European capitals, and viewed as a potential presidential candidate.

Savchenko was elected as a member of the Ukrainian parliament while serving her jail term in Russian Federation. Once there, she was found guilty in court of directing artillery fire that killed two Russian journalists.

Russian President Vladimir Putin pardoned her shortly afterward amid worldwide outrage at her sentence and she returned to Ukraine amid great fanfare.

She concluded that the "story with the court" will "be brought to the point of absurdity", saying that "the authorities want to be amusing, so the authorities will be amusing".

Despite a ceasefire agreement, clashes continue in eastern Ukraine between the rebels and Ukrainian government forces. Ukraine and its Western allies called the case a show trial.

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