Vira Savchenko at a rally to free Nadiya Savchenko. Artem SLIPACHUK, The Day
Nadiya Savchenko’s mother and sister are traveling the world in a campaign to seek global help for the release of the kidnapped Ukrainian pilot held for more than 300 days in Russian custody. “I’m a desperate mother who is ready to travel the globe to make everything possible that my message be heard,” Maria Savchenko, Nadiya’s mother told Associated Press. She and Savchenko’s sister Vira have been traveling the world calling for the immediate and unconditional release of the Ukrainian MP and PACE member.
Mariya and Vira Savchenko started their campaign in Germany, where on March 23 they opened an exhibition devoted to Nadiya Savchenko. They alsp met with representatives of the German Foreign Ministry and the Foreign Affairs Committee of the Bundestag. Mariya Savchenko had written a letter to German chancellor Angela Merkel asking for support in the campaign to free Nadiya.
Vira Savchenko, has been in Paris, Brussels and Strasbourg from 13th to 17th April. At the invitation of NGO Cosmopolitan Project Foundation Students Association of Ukrainians in France and the NGO Open Dialog Foundation, she’s been advocating for Nadiya’s release with the French Government and European institutions, in line with the Minsk II Agreement.
On 13-14 April Vira saw Amnesty International, and the inter-parliamentary France-Ukraine friendship group, linked to the French National Assembly and the Senate.
On April 15, she talked with the Mayor of Paris and the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The Mayors submitting a wish for Nadiya’s liberation to Russia’s Ambassador and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs assured Vira of France’s support for the release of her sister. In the evening, Vira meet with Bernard Henri-Levy.
On April 16, Vira went to Brussels where she met leaders of several political groups, including the EU Regions and European Parliament Committees; along with Federica Mogherini, the Vice-President of the European Commission and High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security policy.
Vira also discussed Nadiya’s situation with Martin Schulz, President of the European Parliament and many MEP’s; along with several other organizations of civil society.
Following these talks, an Emergency Resolution should be discussed at the next plenary session of the European Parliament, demanding the release of Nadiya Savchenko, in compliance with the Minsk II agreements.
On April 17, Vira was received by the teams of Anne Brasseur, President of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE), the Commissioner for Human Rights of the Council of Europe, and the Ukrainian ambassador to the Council of Europe.
All strongly condemned the attitude of Russia regarding the arbitrary detention of the Ukrainian MP, who as a member should be able to attend PACE sessions. A debate on Ukraine took place on 17 April, with Nadiya’s case being discussed, following which PACE demanded to free Savchenko again, stating that “Nadiya Savchenko’s release is a question of PACE’s honor and protection of basic principles and values of the Council of Europe.”
On April 22, Mariya Savchenko had met with US ambassador to the United Nations Samantha Power. Mariya Savchenko and her legal representation relayed ongoing concerns about Nadiya’s health and stressed the impossibility of securing a fair trial for Savchenko in Russia. Ambassador Power reaffirmed American concern for Ms. Savchenko and stressed the United States’ commitment to continuing to advocate for her release.
“It has now been 307 days since Nadiya Savchenko was abducted in eastern Ukraine and smuggled against her will into Russia. I was very moved to hear Maria talk about Nadiya and can only imagine how painful it must be to see one’s daughter’s health deteriorate in prison, with no clear idea about when she might be freed,” said Ambassador Power. “The United States is committed to working to secure her daughter’s release, just as we also remain dedicated to securing the release of all of those Ukrainians illegally held by the separatists and Russia.”