World

Ukrainian pilot charged in deaths of 2 Russian journalists goes to court in Russia's south

  • FILE In this Wednesday, March 4, 2015 file photo Ukrainian jailed military officer Nadezhda Savchenko sits in a cage at a court room in Moscow, Russia. A preliminary hearing in the trial of military pilot Nadezhda Savchenko charged in the deaths of two Russian journalists has started Thursday, July 30, 2015, in Russia's southern town of Donetsk. (AP Photo/Ivan Sekretarev, file)

    FILE In this Wednesday, March 4, 2015 file photo Ukrainian jailed military officer Nadezhda Savchenko sits in a cage at a court room in Moscow, Russia. A preliminary hearing in the trial of military pilot Nadezhda Savchenko charged in the deaths of two Russian journalists has started Thursday, July 30, 2015, in Russia's southern town of Donetsk. (AP Photo/Ivan Sekretarev, file)  (The Associated Press)

  • FILE - In this Wednesday, March 4, 2015 file photo, Ukrainian jailed military officer Nadezhda Savchenko, center, reacts as she listens to the court's decision in a cage at a court room in Moscow, Russia. A preliminary hearing in the trial of military pilot Nadezhda Savchenko charged in the deaths of two Russian journalists has started Thursday, July 30, 2015, in Russia's southern town of Donetsk. (AP Photo/Ivan Sekretarev, File)

    FILE - In this Wednesday, March 4, 2015 file photo, Ukrainian jailed military officer Nadezhda Savchenko, center, reacts as she listens to the court's decision in a cage at a court room in Moscow, Russia. A preliminary hearing in the trial of military pilot Nadezhda Savchenko charged in the deaths of two Russian journalists has started Thursday, July 30, 2015, in Russia's southern town of Donetsk. (AP Photo/Ivan Sekretarev, File)  (The Associated Press)

  • The lawyer of Nadezhda Savchenko, Mark Feygin speaks to press outside the town court in Donetsk, south-western Russia on Thursday, July 30, 2015. A preliminary hearing in the trial of Uklrainian military pilot Nadezhda Savchenko charged in the deaths of two Russian journalists has started in Russia's south. (AP Photo/Fyodor Larin)

    The lawyer of Nadezhda Savchenko, Mark Feygin speaks to press outside the town court in Donetsk, south-western Russia on Thursday, July 30, 2015. A preliminary hearing in the trial of Uklrainian military pilot Nadezhda Savchenko charged in the deaths of two Russian journalists has started in Russia's south. (AP Photo/Fyodor Larin)  (The Associated Press)

A preliminary hearing in the trial of a Ukrainian officer charged in the deaths of two Russian journalists has started in Russia's south.

Russian investigators alleged that military pilot Nadezhda Savchenko was working as a spotter in eastern Ukraine and provided the coordinates for a mortar attack that killed the two Russian journalists in 2014. The deaths took place in eastern Ukraine, where Russia-backed separatists are fighting Ukrainian forces.

She was captured by rebels and brought to Russia under murky circumstances, though Russian authorities say the Ukrainian crossed the border on her own and was lawfully detained on Russian soil.

Thursday's preliminary hearing is expected to set the trial date and consider a request of Savchenko's lawyers to hold the trial in Moscow, where the case would receive more publicity.