The world is celebrating the return to Ukraine of Nadiya Savchenko, the Ukrainian pilot and parliamentarian whom Russia detained unjustly for nearly two years.
“I welcome today’s news that Nadiya Savchenko has returned to Ukraine,” said U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry. He noted that Russia’s release of Savchenko is an important part of fulfilling its commitments under the Minsk agreements and “should now provide impetus for their complete implementation.”
U.S. Ambassador Samantha Power described the inhumane imprisonment Savchenko endured, including countless interrogations, solitary confinement and the deterioration of her health. “Today, Savchenko’s nightmare has finally ended,” Power said.
— Samantha Power (@AmbPower44) May 25, 2016
Combined Russian-separatist forces captured Savchenko in eastern Ukraine in June 2014 and transferred her across the international border into Russia. While in captivity, she went on several hunger strikes, including one in which she drank no water. She returned to Ukraine on May 25, as part of a prisoner exchange for two Russian intelligence officers convicted of fighting alongside combined Russian-separatist forces in eastern Ukraine, RFE/RL reports.
Other diplomats, including EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini, German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier and Canadian Foreign Minister Stéphane Dion, welcomed the news of Savchenko’s release:
— Federica Mogherini (@FedericaMog) May 25, 2016
— GermanForeignOffice (@GermanyDiplo) May 25, 2016
Calling for the release of other detainees
Power recalled that other Ukrainian citizens, including activists Oleh Sentsov and Oleksandr Kolchenko, are still being held unjustly by Russia. Like Savchenko, many of them “were detained in sovereign Ukrainian territory and then illegally transferred to Russia for sham trials,” Power said.
Kerry called on Russia “to abide by its Minsk commitments by releasing all hostages and unlawfully detained persons.”