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U.S. Again Calls on Russia to Release Ukrainian Prisoner


Nadiya Savchenko

The United States has again called on Russia to release imprisoned Ukrainian parliamentarian Nadiya Savchenko.

The United States has again called on Russia to release imprisoned Ukrainian parliamentarian Nadiya Savchenko.

A former military pilot, Ms. Savchenko was seized by Russia-backed separatists in eastern Ukraine last June, and forcibly taken into Russia. There she was charged with complicity in the killing of two Russian journalists, a charge she vehemently denies. Her lawyer, Mark Feygin, said that proof of her innocence has not been addressed by the Russian court.

In October, Ms. Savchenko was elected in absentia to Ukraine’s parliament; in December she began a hunger strike to protest the conditions of her detention. Her lawyer says her health has greatly deteriorated, and there are reports that she has been transferred to the medical facility in Matrosskaya Tishina detention facility in northern Moscow, which has historically been used to house high-profile political prisoners.

At a press briefing, State Department Spokesperson Jen Psaki said the United States is “deeply concerned by reports that Ukrainian parliamentarian and former military pilot and Nadiya Savchenko is gravely ill due to her continued detention by Russia.”

Ms. Psaki added that Ms. Savchenko was “illegally transferred to Russia” and that she has been on a hunger strike since December 13.

The United States also notes that Ms. Savchenko is “a delegate to the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, a body dedicated to protecting human rights, democracy, and the rule of law,” said State Department Spokesperson Psaki.

“We call on Russia to immediately release Ms. Savchenko and all other Ukrainian hostages, as well as fulfill all commitments” it made under the Minsk Protocols agreed to last September.

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