Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Worldwide Support Grows for Nadiya Savchenko
Cyberspace has been filled with many recent examples of the growing worldwide support for Nadiya Savchenko not only from Ukrainians but also from a significant number of non-Ukrainian sources.
Savchenko, a Ukrainian military aviatrix, was kidnapped to Russia by Russian invaders and falsely accused of killing Russian non-combatants during the Russo-Ukraine War of 2014-16. Held in unjust conditions in a Russian prison, 34-year-old Savchenko launched a hunger strike to protest her unlawful imprisonment.
Often seen in court dressed in a Ukrainian embroidered blouse or a t-shirt emblazoned with a large Tryzub, the national emblem of Ukraine, Nadiya Savchenko has earned the distinction of being this generation’s most prominent Ukrainian political prisoner.
Indeed, Savchenko has demonstrated true grit throughout her military career and illegal incarceration and trial. The latest chapter of her plight shows that she hasn’t tired and continues to maintain her principled, national, patriotic position even while caged in the Russian courtroom.
On March 2, while awaiting the final verdict after the prosecutor demanded a sentence of 23 years behind bars, Savchenko, also a member of the Ukrainian parliament, offered her final statement, in which she laid the complete blame for Russia’s imperialism, invasion, killings and her capture and imprisonment at the doorstep of the Kremlin.
Some excerpts of her remarks:
“During this long and tedious six-month trial we learned that guilt was proven in the course of the judicial process. That guilt is of the Russian journalists [Savchenko was accused of involvement in the deaths of two Russian journalists]. They are guilty of lying and of providing false, distorted information regarding events in Ukraine, the world, and in Russia …
“If they had not hung around where they shouldn't have, they would have stayed alive. Russian TV channels were also found guilty …
“They wanted to boost their ratings and made a quick buck. But they absolutely do not care about their journalists. They are the ones who are above all responsible for the deaths of Korneliuk and Voloshin [the two Russian journalists whose deaths Savchenko is accused of involvement in]…
“The guilt of Russian-backed separatist forces and Russian regular military troops has also been proven. They are guilty of killing Ukrainian people on our Ukrainian land. They are to blame for occupying Ukrainian lands
“This court also proved the FSB (Security Service) and Russia's Investigative Committee guilty. They are to blame for kidnapping people. They are guilty of torturing people
“During the trial, the prosecutor and Russian judges were also found guilty. During two years of my imprisonment and my tribulations here, I found out that those people had neither honor nor conscience, nor do they abide by laws. They absolutely do not care about international laws or human rights, they are instructed by the Kremlin, and they are committed to fulfilling this state order …
“The trial proves the guilt of Russian authorities; they are to blame for seizing Ukrainian lands, capturing Crimea and starting a war in the Donbas region. They are to blame for trying to establish - through their foul undeclared wars all over the world - a totalitarian regime dominated by Russia
“They creep everywhere and kill people through genocide. We could observe the same practice in Chechnya, and Abkhazia. Now we are observing this in Ukraine, Dagestan, Syria …
I am the only person the court failed to find guilty. I am an officer of the Ukrainian Armed Forces. I had every right to defend my land, I was fulfilling my duty
You do not judge your own troops - but they also killed many people while defending their country
“That’s why I want to say - the more I meet these effeminate men, like prosecutors here, the higher grows my self-esteem as that of a woman, of a soldier and of a human being...
“And here is the most crucial thing. Let prosecutors sentence me to as many years in prison, as they wish. Not a day longer, not a day shorter. All 23 years. Do not issue a longer or shorter jail sentence for me - so they won’t make any further appeals or delay the procedure. You have proved that you are utterly impotent. You have already proved that Russia can disgrace itself, as exemplified in my case.
You have never defeated me and will never do it! Well, let's finish it all as soon as possible, I will not wait any longer. It was not you who have given me life, so you can't own it - and you can't decide upon my fate. If the verdict takes more than two weeks, I will not wait for it. That's all I want to say.”
Powerful words from a Ukrainian soldier regardless of gender.
According to the BBC, her patience evaporated in court on Wednesday, March 9. The news agency reported that at one point in her appearance, she leaped onto a bench inside the cage and showed the judges her middle finger. She mocked the judges in Ukrainian, saying they were proving that Russians were fascists.
Vice President Joe Biden and Secretary of State John Kerry joined the chorus of world leaders who have called for Savchenko’s release.
Biden: “Nadiya has been unjustly imprisoned in Russia since 2014—detained and facing trial on trumped up charges. Nadiya was proudly serving her country as a member of the Ukrainian armed forces, fighting in the eastern part of the country when she 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. Recently, Nadiya has begun a new hunger strike to protest her detention, and her health has begun to deteriorate after five days with no food or liquids.
“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.”
Kerry: “In the 20 months since she was captured in eastern Ukraine and taken to Russia, Ms. Savchenko has reportedly endured interrogations, solitary confinement, and forced “psychiatric evaluation.” Her trial and continuing imprisonment demonstrate disregard for international standards, as well as for Russia’s commitments under the Minsk agreements.
“The United States once again calls on Russia to immediately release Ms. Savchenko and return her to Ukraine.”
Ambassador Daniel B. Baer to the OSCE Permanent Council: “We must take this opportunity to remind the Russian Federation that Russia has committed, under the Minsk agreements, to the release of Nadiya Savchenko and others held on politically-motivated charges in the Russian Federation.”

Russia must not be permitted to get away with another crime against humanity. Please visit the following website and sign the open letter to European leaders to demand freedom for Nadiya Savchenko.