The trial of the head of the so-called Luhansk People’s Republic, Igor Plotnitskiy, have begun in Kyiv. Plotnitskiy has refused to appear before the Podilsky district court, and is therefore being tried in absentia.
According to prosecutor Yevhen Dudka, the trial will last about six months.
"The questioning of 17 witnesses and victims, as well as an examination of evidence, are scheduled already. Only after their completion will the court make a decision. Witnesses have already been questioned by investigators during the pre-trial investigation. Mostly, they are members of the military. If the witnesses appear at each hearing, the process will go quickly, in six months nearly,” Dudka said
Court hearings were delayed due to the fact that Plotnitsky’s lawyer appeared late in court.
Plotnitsky is accused of criminal offenses under article 146 part 3 (unlawful imprisonment or kidnapping), article 258 part 2 (act of terrorism) and article 332 part 3 (illegal transport of persons across the state border of Ukraine) of the Criminal Code.
According to the indictment, on June 17, 2014, following Plotnitsky’s orders, soldiers of the Zarya battalion committed an armed attack on soldiers of the 24th Aidar Territorial Defense Battalion of the Ukrainian Armed Forces and captured senior lieutenant Nadiya Savchenko. On June 23, Savchenko, according to investigators, was illegally transported across the Ukrainian border into the Russian Federation.
Nadiya Savchenko, after having spent more than 1.5 years in a Russian investigative isolation ward, was sentenced to 22 years in prison for involvement in the murder of two Russian journalists. She was later returned to Ukraine as part of a prisoner exchange.