On Nadiya Savchenko and other Ukrainians held by Russia: Statement to the PC

Ukrainian jailed military officer Nadiya Savchenko sits in a cage at a court room in Moscow, Russia, Wednesday, March 4, 2015. (AP Photo/Ivan Sekretarev)

We are pleased that Ms. Savchenko ended her dry hunger strike in response to requests from her family members and President Poroshenko. We would like to remind Russia that it remains responsible for Ms. Savchenko’s health and welfare. We have also seen reports that President Poroshenko and President Putin have agreed to exchange Ms. Savchenko for two Russian GRU officers convicted on terrorism charges in Ukraine. As President Obama told President Putin in their April 18 phone call, Russia must release Ms. Savchenko without delay.

We also note reports that Russia’s Ministry of Justice initiated a process which could allow Oleg Sentsov, Gennady Afanasiev, Oleksander Kolchenko, and Yuri Soloshenko to be released to Ukraine. We call again on the Russian Federation to release these hostages and all other Ukrainians held by Russia for politically-motivated reasons, including Akhtem Chiygoz.

We continue to urge the Russian Federation, as a signatory of the Minsk agreements, to support efforts in the Trilateral Contact Group on the exchange of prisoners between the Ukrainian authorities and combined Russian-separatist forces on the basis of the all-for-all principle.

Thank you, Mr. Chair.

As delivered by Ambassador Daniel B. Baer to the Permanent Council, Vienna