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A committee calls for ‘immediate release’ of its member Nadiya Savchenko

The Committee on Migration, Refugees and Displaced persons of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) has called on the Russian authorities to immediately release its member Nadiya Savchenko.

In a statement approved at its meeting today, the committee said: “Ms Savchenko was captured on 18 June 2014 by separatists whilst serving with the Ukrainian government forces engaged in the conflict in eastern Ukraine. Shortly after this, according to credible evidence, she was illegally transferred into the custody of the Russian authorities, which have held her in detention ever since. She has been charged with, but not brought to trial for, complicity in the deaths of two Russian journalists that occurred during fighting in eastern Ukraine.

Despite having detained Ms Savchenko for over seven months, the Russian authorities have not presented any credible evidence to support the charges against her.

In October, Ms Savchenko was elected as a member of the Ukrainian parliament, and was subsequently appointed to the Ukrainian delegation to the Parliamentary Assembly. Since 13 December, Ms Savchenko has been on hunger strike in protest at her continued detention. As a result, her health has dangerously deteriorated. Her continued detention will only complicate political efforts to find a solution to the conflict in eastern Ukraine.

The committee also calls upon the Russian authorities to release any other persons who are still detained by them after being captured in the course of the conflict in eastern Ukraine, in violation of the Minsk Protocol provisions on the release of prisoners.”