Statement by Ambassador Samantha Power, U.S. Permanent Representative to the United Nations, on the Release of Nadiya Savchenko.
Savchenko was one of Ukraine's first women to train as a military airplane pilot, and is the only female aviator to pilot the Sukhoi Su-24 bomber and the Mil Mi-24 helicopter.
According to her lawyer Mark Feygin, 'her case will certainly be decided in Kremlin by Putin and his associates.' On 21 March 2016, the court of Donetsk, Russia found Savchenko guilty of illegally crossing the Russian border and the murder of two Russian journalists.
According to BBC she was freed in a prisoner swap on 25 May 2016. Technically, she was granted a pardon by president Vladimir Putin.
U.S. Embassy Kyiv Ukraine shared on Facebook:
'Statement by Ambassador Samantha Power.
During the 708 days since her abduction in eastern Ukraine, Nadiya Savchenko has endured inhumane imprisonment, countless interrogations, solitary confinement, the deterioration of her health, and farcical Russian legal proceedings. Today, Savchenko’s nightmare has finally ended.
While we are overjoyed at the news that Savchenko is reunited with her family, we remember the other Ukrainians, such as Oleh Sentsov or Oleksandr Kolchenko, still held unjustly by Russia. Like Savchenko, many of these Ukrainian citizens were detained in sovereign Ukrainian territory and then illegally transferred to Russia for sham trials.
The United States will continue to press Russia for complete implementation of its commitments under the Minsk agreements, which include the return of all unlawfully detained people, as well as Russia’s withdrawal of its forces from Ukrainian territory; and for Russia to end its occupation of Crimea.
Much work must still be done to restore Ukraine’s territorial integrity – but today is a day for celebration in Ukraine, as one of its patriots has finally returned home.'
U.S. Embassy in Kyiv also shared statement by United States Secretary of State John Kerry:
'I welcome today’s news that Nadiya Savchenko has returned to Ukraine and the Government of Ukraine's humanitarian decision to release two Russian service members captured on Ukrainian soil and convicted of terrorism-related charges.
Nearly two years ago, Nadiya Savchenko was captured in combat in eastern Ukraine and forcibly taken against her will into Russia. Her release, after a long ordeal that included solitary confinement, is an important part of fulfilling Russia’s commitments under the Minsk agreements and should now provide impetus for their complete implementation. This includes a real, comprehensive, and sustained ceasefire in eastern Ukraine; full access for the OSCE to the area affected by the conflict; elections under Ukrainian law that meet OSCE standards and are monitored by the OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR); the withdrawal of foreign forces and equipment; and the return to Ukraine of full control over its international border. We also call on Russia to abide by its Minsk commitments by releasing all hostages and unlawfully detained persons.'
On 25 May 2016, Savchencko was exchanged in a prisoner swap for Russian GRU officers Yevgeny Yerofeyev and Alexander Alexandrov captured by Ukraine.