TLHRC Co-Chairs Statement on the Imprisonment of Nadiya Savchenko
As Co-Chairs of the Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission, we condemn the Russian Federation’s continued unlawful imprisonment of Ukrainian fighter pilot and Member of Parliament Nadiya Savchenko.
Nadiya Savchenko is one of Ukraine’s few female pilots and has a military service record that spans seventeen years, including service in multinational peacekeeping operations in Iraq. In 2014 she volunteered to fight in eastern Ukraine as part of the Aidar Battalion. During the summer, while conducting operations against pro-Russian rebel forces, she was taken into captivity, and in July, transferred against her will to the Russian Federation, where she remains imprisoned today. During her imprisonment she has endured relentless interrogations, solitary confinement and involuntary psychiatric evaluations, and her health has deteriorated. She has been denied access to medical attention and to legal counsel. In April 2015, Russian authorities brought criminal charges against her.
Ms. Savchenko’s relocation to Russia, and the Russian effort to prosecute her, are illegal. Her continued detention is evidence of Russia’s lack of compliance with the Minsk agreements, which included a commitment to immediately release all hostages and unlawfully detained persons. To date, that commitment remains unfulfilled.
The Russian Federation’s treatment of Nadiya Savchenko is inconsistent with its international legal and humanitarian obligations. We join the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, the European Union, and others in the international community in calling for the immediate and unconditional release of Ms. Savchenko and other Ukrainians unlawfully imprisoned in Russia.