US Vice President Joe Biden called on Russia to release Ukrainian pilot Nadiya Savchenko, who is on trial in the Russian city of Rostov-on-Don.
“Today, as we mark International Women’s Day and honor all the brave women who struggle against injustice in this world, we also stand with Nadiya and with the Ukrainian people. And we call on Russia to make the right choice—to drop all charges and release her at once. Nadiya deserves to go home to her family and friends and join her fellow Rada members to begin shaping a new Ukraine,” a statement issued by the Vice President read.
As Biden explained, Savchenko has been unjustly imprisoned in Russia since 2014, and is facing “trumped up charges” in a Russian court. According to the Vice President, Savchenko was serving in the Armed Forces of Ukraine and “was abducted by separatists and taken across the border against her will.”
“During the past 20 months, she has become a symbol of Ukrainian national pride and strength. She was even elected to the Rada from her prison cell. Her unlawful continuing detention is a clear violation of Russia’s commitment under the Minsk agreements, and she should be freed at once,” the US Vice President stated.
Nadiya Savchenko has been charged with the murder of two Russian journalists. It is widely believed that Savchenko was in fact captured by Luhansk People’s Republic (LPR) separatists in eastern Ukraine and was illegally transported to Russia, where the case was fabricated against her.
On March 2nd, the prosecutor’s office requested that she be sentenced to 23 years in a penal colony and given a fine of 100,000 rubles ($1,400).
Savchenko declared a dry hunger strike on March 3rd after the Donetsk City Court in the Rostov region announced that she would not be given a chance to make her final closing statement during a court hearing.