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 ‘DEAD OR ALIVE, I HAVE PREVAILED. WITH UKRAINE IN MY HEART’

Sir, “Nadiya” means “hope”. Nadiya Savchenko, a Ukrainian army officer and Iraq war veteran, a member of Ukraine’s parliament and the Council of Europe’s Parliamentary Assembly, recently spent eight days on dry hunger strike. She has put her life at great risk as the last measure to protest against Russia’s mockery of law and morals.

Ms Savchenko is one of more than 20 Ukrainians illegally detained on fabricated charges in Russia and occupied Crimea, including film director Oleg Sentsov and antifascism activist Oleksandr Kolchenko. Last summer, Ms Savchenko was defending her country in eastern Ukraine. She was taken prisoner and trafficked to Russia. She ended up in a Russian court facing trumped-up charges of murder.

World leaders, politicians, diplomats, intellectuals and Nobel laureates have been calling for an immediate release of Ms Savchenko. Thousands of people have joined numerous rallies and demonstrations across the world as well as Twitter storms demanding that Russia free Ms Savchenko. Petro Poroshenko, the president of Ukraine, has been pushing for her release during the talks with President Vladimir Putin. He has also called upon the world to help us make the Russian leader hear our humanitarian call. Russia has been deaf to the calls of Ukraine and the world. Yet, we cannot but hope that Ms Savchenko's life and freedom will be saved. Pending her conviction, I address the world with a request of literally vital importance: help us to save a Ukrainian woman in Russia - Nadiya Savchenko.

While Russia's judiciary ignores hard evidence proving Ms Savchenko's innocence, while Russia's propaganda demonises her in the media, we call for increased international diplomatic and public pressure on the Russian leadership with a simple demand: free Ms Savchenko. By letting her go, Russia will keep alive the hope that Moscow is able to be guided by legal arguments and the highest moral considerations.

In a note handed to a Ukrainian consul on March 7, Ms Savchenko wrote from behind bars: "Dead or alive, I have already prevailed. With Ukraine in my heart."

A Ukrainian woman prevailed over the Russian system. She deserves your support to defend her cause and hope for justice.

Pavlo Klimkin, Minister for Foreign Affairs, Ukraine, Letter for Financial Times



 
 
 
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