The United States warmly welcomes Nadiya Savchenko’s release and return to Ukraine. Nearly two years ago, she was abducted in eastern Ukraine and smuggled against her will into Russia. Ms. Savchenko endured relentless interrogations, solitary confinement, and forced “psychiatric evaluation.” Through it all, she remained steadfast, resilient, and loyal to her country.
The return of Ms. Savchenko should now be followed by the release of all hostages and unlawfully detained persons, including Oleg Sentsov, Gennady Afanasiev, Oleksander Kolchenko, Yuri Soloshenko, Stansilav Klikh, and Mykola Karpyuk, as Russia committed to do under the Minsk agreements. We encourage Russia to take further steps to complete implementation of its Minsk commitments, including a real, comprehensive, and sustained ceasefire in eastern Ukraine; full access for the OSCE to the area affected by the conflict; elections under Ukrainian law that meet OSCE standards and are monitored by the OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights; the withdrawal of foreign forces and equipment; and the return to Ukraine of full control over its international border.
Thank you, Mr. Chair.
As delivered by Ambassador Daniel B. Baer to the Permanent Council, Vienna