EP insists on release of Ukrainian pilot

Russia in breach of Minsk Agreements.

SNP member of the European Parliament’s Foreign Affairs Committee, Alyn Smith, added his voice to the Parliament’s call for release of Ukrainian air force pilot Nadiya Savchenko. During a debate in Strasbourg today (Thursday) members condemned Russia's violation of the international law and human rights and demanded the immediate release of Ukrainian pilot and other illegally imprisoned Ukrainians.

Savchenko, who has been held in Russia since July last year, is accused of having abetted the killing of two Russian journalists in eastern Ukraine but denies the charges and claims she was kidnapped on Ukrainian soil by pro-Russian separatists and brought to Russia illegally. 

Alyn said:

“The situation of Ms Savchenko is outrageous. Crucially, it’s entirely within the control of the Russian authorities. She’s also emblematic and it’s important to remember that she’s not alone. She’s not the only illegally held Ukrainian national in Russia. Film director Oleg Sentsov is in a similar situation and there are others.

“These are all covered within the Minsk Agreement and let us be clear; Russia is in breach of Minsk Agreements. Ms Savchenko is being illegally held and we must remind our member states’ leaders and foreign ministers to play a much more vocal role in these discussions and raise her case and others at the next meeting of the Contact Group.”

Savchenko has diplomatic immunity due to her status as a delegate to the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe and is challenging Russia's refusal to recognise her diplomatic immunity in the courts.  

Imprisoned Ukrainian air force pilot was transferred to a Moscow hospital yesterday as her health has worsened following a renewed hunger strike.

Video recording of Alyn's speech in plenary is available here: