Russian judge sets date for Ukrainian pilot verdict

A Russian judge has set a date of March 21-22 for issuing the verdict in the case against jailed Ukrainian pilot Nadezhda Savchenko, who is accused of involvement in the deaths of two Russian journalists in eastern Ukraine.

Prosecutors last week asked the court in the border town of Donetsk to sentence Savchenko to 23 years in prison. The judge said Wednesday the reading of the verdict would begin March 21 and take two days.

Savchenko was fighting with a Ukrainian volunteer battalion against Russia-backed rebels when she was captured in June 2014. Russia claims she was a spotter who called in coordinates for a mortar attack that killed the journalists.

Ukraine says Savchenko was abducted by Russians and should be treated as a prisoner of war.