Russia's mission in western Ukraine pelted with smoke bombs

9th March 2016, Comments 0 comments

A group of Ukrainians with scarves covering their faces on Wednesday threw smoke bombs and fireworks at the Russian mission in the western city of Lviv, while a local lawmaker tore down the Russian flag.

The cultural capital of Ukraine was one of several cities staging protests against the trial in Russia of Nadiya Savchenko, a military pilot accused of being involved in the killing of two Russian reporters during the Ukraine conflict.

An AFP reporter said that, as the peaceful rally began to dispurse, local Ukrainian parliament member Volodymyr Parasyuk tore down the Russian flag from its post near the fence surrounding the mission, while another man set it on fire.

Around 10 people then pelted the building with eggs and threw several smoke bombs and fireworks under the fence protecting the Russian consulate's grounds.

The group then left the scene and there were no initial reports of arrests.

Several hundred people also picketed the Russian embassy in Kiev, which was also pelted with eggs.

Savchenko is accused of involvement in the death of two Russian state television journalists in a mortar attack that occurred two months after revolt erupted in Ukraine's pro-Moscow east in April 2014.

The 34-year-old Iraq war veteran from Ukraine faces up to 23 years in prison if convicted in a case that has drawn global attention and been attended by Western monitors concerned about Russia's record on human rights.

Savchenko denies the charges and has refused all food and drink since her hearing was adjourned last Thursday before she was given a chance to make a final statement.

Her hearing resumed on Wednesday with the judge saying that the verdict will be handed down on March 21 and 22.

Savchenko told Wednesday's hearing that she would continue refusing food and water in protest.

Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko on Wednesday called Savchenko's trial a "farce" and demanded her immediate release.

© 2016 AFP

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