Statement by Ambassador Samantha Power, U.S. permanent representative to the United Nations, on Russia’s continued detention and trial of Nadiya Savchenko. The statement was released by the U.S. Mission to the United Nations on March 9.
Nadiya Savchenko, a former Ukrainian pilot and current member of Ukraine’s Parliament, was abducted in eastern Ukraine on June 17, 2014, and taken across the border to Russia, where she remains detained on baseless charges. Today, in spite of a “dry” hunger strike in which she has not had any food or liquid for nearly a week, Savchenko took the stand to deliver her closing statement in a farcical trial.
Russia’s continued detention of Savchenko demonstrates blatant disregard for its commitments under the Minsk agreements. Savchenko – as well as all Ukrainians who are being held illegally by separatists and by Russia – should be free.
Twice I’ve had the honor of meeting Maria Savchenko, Nadiya’s mother. She has had to follow from afar the harrowing accounts of her daughter’s health deteriorating in prison, with no idea when she might be freed, or worse, whether she might die. In a video statement she released yesterday, Maria said, “I’m so nervous, I forgot what it’s like to sleep.”
Yesterday marked Nadiya Savchenko’s 600th day of wrongful imprisonment. She belongs back in Ukraine, working alongside her colleagues in the Rada to build a better future for her country. We call on Russia to release her at once.