On Nadiya Savchenko’s Ongoing Detention: Statement to the PC

The United States remains deeply concerned by the continued detention of Nadiya Savchenko by the Russian Federation. We note that following the visit of ODIHR representatives to Ms. Savchenko’s February 25 court hearing in Moscow, ODIHR released a statement reminding that “all states should continue to work to ensure that the right to a fair trial and the right not to be subjected to arbitrary arrest or detention are respected.” After more than 80 days of a hunger strike in protest of being held hostage by Russian authorities, Ms. Savchenko’s health is extremely precarious.

Ms. Savchenko, who is a Deputy of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine, was seized by Russia-backed separatists outside Metallist, Ukraine, in June 2014, and was moved across the border and handed over to Russian authorities, who have held her ever since.

Ms. Savchenko has been ill treated by Russian authorities during her detention, including forcing her to undergo a so-called “psychiatric evaluation” – a practice reminiscent of the manner in which dissidents were treated in the Soviet Union.

We call on Russia to fulfill the commitment it made in the September 2014 Minsk agreements and in the February 12 implementation plan by releasing Nadiya Savchenko and all other Ukrainian hostages immediately.

Mr. Chair, if I might add, given Russia’s professed concern with the speed of the implementation of the Package of Measures and the Minsk agreements, this step is an easy one and entirely within Russia’s power to do today.

Thank you, Mr. Chair.

As delivered by Ambassador Daniel B. Baer to the Permanent Council, Vienna | March 5, 2015