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Freed pilot Savchenko wants talks with Ukraine rebel leaders

Updated at: 06/07/2016 5:21 PM
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Russia appears to be ignoring the U.S. and its allies request to stay out of the Ukraine.
Russia appears to be ignoring the U.S. and its allies request to stay out of the Ukraine.
Photo: NBC News

(AP) MOSCOW - MOSCOW (AP) — Ukrainian pilot Nadiya Savchenko says she is willing to talk with rebel leaders in eastern Ukraine.

Savchenko was freed in a prisoner exchange with Russia last month after nearly two years in custody and was sworn in as a lawmaker in Ukraine's parliament last week.

She was captured in eastern Ukraine by Russia-backed rebels in June 2014 and then surfaced in Russia, where she was convicted of providing coordinates for a mortar attack that killed two Russian journalists.

Savchenko was quoted Tuesday by Ukrainian media as saying she believes direct talks with rebel leaders would be more effective than the current talks that include Russia.

Denis Pushilin, a rebel envoy to those talks, said the leaders would be willing to meet with her if Ukraine gave her formal envoy status.

(Copyright 2016 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)