Ukrainian MP Savchenko accused of plotting to overthrow parliament

Ukrainian lawmaker Nadiya Savchenko shows her deputy card in a parliament session in Kiev, Ukraine, on Thursday. Photo by Stepan Franko/EPA-EFE

March 23 (UPI) — Ukrainian authorities arrested MP Nadia Savchenko, a former military pilot released from Russian captivity in 2016, Thursday on allegations she plotted to overthrow the government.

The Verkhovna Rada, Ukraine’s parliament, voted to remove Savchenko’s immunity from prosecution after they viewed a video purporting to show her talking to two officers about plans to attack the legislative body.

Savchenko didn’t deny the allegations, saying the “corrupt” government should be overthrown. Still, she said the plot was a “provocation,” the BBC reported.

Ukraine’s chief prosecutor, Yuriy Lutsenko, said Savchenko tried to make a deal with Russian-backed rebels to obtain weapons including sniper rifles and grenades. Lutsenko said she may be subjected to a forced psychiatric evaluation.

“The court and only the court will determine if these accusations are right […] Of course, after a judicial action called ‘forced psychiatric evaluation,” he said.

Savchenko, 36, was released in a prison swap between Russia and Ukraine in May 2016. A Russian court had sentenced the helicopter pilot to 22 years in prison for the deaths of two Russian journalists in eastern Ukraine by reporting their coordinates to a Ukrainian artillery battalion.

Savchenko emphatically denied the charges and became a symbol of Ukrainian resistance against Russia.

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