A judge in a border Russian town is expected to deliver a verdict in the case of Ukrainian pilot for her alleged role in the deaths of two Russian journalists.

Nadezhda Savchenko served in a volunteer battalion against Russia-backed rebels and was captured by separatist rebels in July 2014 before she surfaced in Russia.

The Ukrainian government has protested against Savchenko's arrest, saying she should be treated as a prisoner of war and released under the current truce for eastern Ukraine. Prosecutors asked the court to sentence her to 23 years in prison.

Ukraine has been anxious to exchange Savchenko for some of the Russian officers who were captured in the east but Moscow has said it will not discuss a possible exchange until a verdict is delivered.