U.S. officials have again called on Russia to immediately and unconditionally release Ukrainian hostage Nadiya Savchenko.

One year ago, Russia-backed separatists abducted Savchenko in eastern Ukraine and smuggled her against her will into Russia. Savchenko, who is a member of the Ukrainian parliament, was handed over to Russian authorities and charged with killing two Russian journalists.

“Her continued imprisonment in Russia is indefensible, illegal, and it flies in the face of Russia’s commitments under the Minsk [cease-fire] agreements,” said U.S. Permanent Representative to the United Nations Samantha Power in a June 17 statement. The cease-fire agreement signed in Minsk, Belarus, in February included provisions for the release of all hostages and unlawfully detained persons.

During her detention over the past year, Russian authorities have subjected Savchenko to interrogations, solitary confinement and forced “psychiatric evaluations.” Savchenko conducted a hunger strike lasting more than 80 days to protest her detention.

(© AP Images)

A week prior to the anniversary of her capture, a Moscow court decided to further extend, until September 30, Savchenko’s stay in pretrial detention. Russian authorities closed their investigation months ago but have yet to announce a trial.

U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Geoffrey Pyatt joined Power in calling on Russia to release Savchenko. “The United States will continue to press tirelessly for Nadiya’s release, as well as the release of all Ukrainians who are being held illegally by Russia and its proxies in eastern Ukraine,” Pyatt said.

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