27 May 2016
Australian—Ukrainians relieved at release of pilot Nadiya Savchenko
The Australian Federation of Ukrainian Organisations (AFUO) welcomes the release of pilot Nadiya Savchenko after two years of political imprisonment by the Russian Federation.
The thirty five year old Savchenko was handed a 22-year sentence when a Russian court convicted her of directing artillery fire that killed two Russian journalists during combat in eastern Ukraine in June 2014.
AFUO Chairman and General Secretary of the Ukrainian World Congress, Stefan Romaniw OAM said, “We could not be more relieved that Nadiya Savchenko has been released. She has shown incredible resilience throughout her ordeal. She is a true hero of Ukraine.”
On 16 April 2016 a Ukrainian court handed down jail sentences to two Russian servicemen for fighting in east Ukraine, which opened up the possibility of a prisoner swap that was carried out on 25 May.
Savchenko has demonstrated unflagging spirit throughout her 708 days in prison and famously broke out in song whilst the sentence was read out in court. She carried out several hunger strikes during her captivity, the longest lasting 57 days, and never gave up her strong belief in Ukraine.
The AFUO sincerely thanks all those who protested against her capture and demanded her release through rallies around Australia and social media campaigns over the past two years.
We continue to call on the Russian Federation to abide by its Minsk commitments by releasing all hostages and unlawfully detained persons including Ukrainian filmmaker, Oleg Sentsov.
FOR MORE INFORMATION: STEFAN ROMANIW 0419 531 255