Recent days have seen a global outpouring of support for Nadiya Savchenko, a Ukrainian pilot and parliamentarian who has been unjustly held by Russia since June 2014, and who has recently begun to refuse food and liquid in protest.
On March 7, the European Union called on Russia to immediately release Savchenko, noting that Russia “bears responsibility for the health, well-being and observance of the human rights of all persons it detains.”
Several members of the European Parliament wrote a letter to Savchenko pledging to advocate for her release and even going on hunger strikes in solidarity with the Ukrainian hostage. Prominent individuals, including political leaders and Nobel laureates, signed an open letter to European leaders urging them to take “emergency measures” to secure Savchenko’s release.
Other supporters, including U.S. Representative to the United Nations Samantha Power and U.S. Representative to the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe Daniel Baer, took to Twitter to call attention to Savchenko’s unjust detention.
«Nadiya Savchenko has gone on a hunger/liquid strike to protest Russia’s illegal detention & farcical trial.»
«Thinking of Nadiya Savchenko this afternoon— wishing her strength in the face of injustice».
Savchenko’s mother, Mariya Savchenko, released a video urging world leaders to condemn the arrest of her daughter and work toward her release. “Help my child be freed from that jail,” she said:
Mariya Savchenko is the mother of Nadiya Savchenko.
She pleads to SAVE her daughter.
She asks to:
1. Condemn arrest of Nadiya and call for her urgent release;
2. Call for justice and sanctions against anyone involved in her arrest, torturing, and detainment;
3. Make sure world is watching.
U.S. condemns Russia’s disregard for international law
Praising Savchenko as a symbol of Ukraine’s “national pride and strength,” Vice President Biden urged Russia to dismiss all charges against her and immediately release her. “Nadiya deserves to go home to her family and friends and join her fellow Rada members to begin shaping a new Ukraine,” he said.
Secretary of State John Kerry expressed concern about the health and welfare of the pilot and parliamentarian, especially with regard to her recent decision to refuse both food and water to protest her detention. He noted that during the past 20 months, Savchenko has reportedly endured interrogations, solitary confinement and forced “psychiatric evaluation.” He said her trial and continuing imprisonment demonstrate Russia’s disregard for international standards and for its obligations under the Minsk agreements — the truce aimed at diplomatically ending the conflict in eastern Ukraine.