A Russian court has rejected a defense plea to move a high-profile trial of a Ukrainian officer to Moscow.

The Rostov-on-Don regional court ruled Friday that military pilot Nadezhda Savchenko, who is charged in the deaths of two Russian journalists, should be tried in a small Russian border town just a few miles away from Ukraine.

Russian investigators allege that Savchenko, who served in a volunteer battalion in eastern Ukraine where Ukrainian forces were fighting Russia-backed rebels, provided the coordinates for a mortar attack that killed the journalists last summer.

Savchenko, whose lawyers say was captured by the rebels and smuggled across the border into Russia, has become a poster child for Ukrainians fighting the separatists. Top Ukrainian officials have been campaigning for her release.