Ukraine war hero accused of parliament attack plot

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Kiev (AFP)

Nadiya Savchenko, a Ukrainian lawmaker once hailed as a hero and a symbol of resistance against Russia, has been accused of plotting a terrorist attack against the Kiev parliament, authorities said Thursday.

Ukraine's General Prosecutor Yury Lutsenko told lawmakers in parliament that the investigation had "indisputable evidence" that Savchenko planned a "terror attack" on parliament.

Lutsenko claimed Savchenko had been plotting to destroy the chamber with grenades and mortar launchers and "finish off the survivors with automatic rifles."

He offered no evidence, however.

In 2014, the 36-year-old former combat pilot was captured while fighting against Kremlin-backed separatists in eastern Ukraine and found guilty of involvement in the killing of two Russian journalists in eastern Ukraine.

She spent around two years in a Russian prison and became a symbol of Ukraine's resistance, launching several hunger strikes.

Savchenko returned to a hero's welcome to Kiev in May, 2016 as part of a prisoner swap with Russia.

But her political star has faded since her return to Kiev where she became a lawmaker for former prime minister Yulia Tymoshenko's political party.

She has regularly stirred controversy and contradicted President Petro Poroshenko's policies by supporting direct talks with pro-Kremlin separatists and visiting rebel-held territory.

On Thursday Parliament voted to expel Savchenko from its national security and defence committee.