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Statement by the Delegation of Ukraine on "Abduction of Ukrainian servicewoman Nadiya Savchenko"
24 July 2014 22:02

Delivered by Permanent Representative of Ukraine Ihor Prokopchuk at the OSCE Permanent Council meeting on 24 July 2014

Mr. Chairman,

The delegation of Ukraine reiterates its resolute protest over the abduction from the territory of Ukraine of Ukrainian servicewoman Nadiya Savchenko by the terrorist organization “Luhansk people’s republic” and her illegal arrest in the pre-trial detention center in the city of Voronezh, the Russian Federation. 

Despite attempts by the law-enforcement agencies of the Russian Federation to conceal the real circumstances of abduction of Ms.Savchenko, new details of this discreditable act have become known to public.

In her letter to the Russian ombudsman, the Ukrainian servicewoman confirmed that she had been trafficked by the terrorists from the territory of Ukraine without her consent and directly handed over to the Russian law-enforcement officers on 24 June. Until 30 June she was forcefully held in the hotel “Euro” in Voronezh as a so-called “guest”. Let me draw attention of the Permanent Council to the term “guest” which was earlier used by terrorist groups in Donetsk and Luhansk oblasts of Ukraine in relation to abducted OSCE military observers and SMM monitors. At the same time Ms.Savchenko was not allowed to go outside, open windows and contact her relatives. While held captive in the hotel Ms.Savchenko was interrogated by the Russian law enforcement as a “witness”.

On 30 June the Russian police staged a show, detaining Ms.Savchenko as if “accidentally” discovered. The Voronezh court on 2 July decided to arrest Ms.Savchenko under fabricated charges. 

We note that in its ruling the Voronezh court referred to the part of the Ukrainian territory of the deployment of the Ukrainian military unit, where Ms.Savchenko had served before being captured, as “Luhansk people’s republic”. As it is an official document of the Russian state institution, I would be grateful to the Russian representative for providing us with relevant explanation whether it means official recognition of a terrorist organization by the Russian Federation. If not, I would be grateful for due clarifications.

Tomorrow the Voronezh court will consider the appeal of Ms.Savchenko against her arrest. We call on the Russian Federation to immediately release Ms.Savchenko.

We urge that all those responsible for her abduction from the territory of Ukraine to the Russian Federation be brought to justice. 

We also call on the Russian Federation to release Ukrainian journalist Yevhen Agarkov, who reported on the case of Ms.Savchenko from Voronezh. On 18 July Mr.Agarkov was detained in Voronezh under the pretext of “working in the Russian Federation without accreditation”. The district court has already decided to impose an administrative fine on the journalist, and yet he still stays behind bars at the immigration detention center. 

We consider this step by the Russian authorities as sending a clear warning to avoid attempts of professional coverage of the case of Ms.Savchenko. We view as unacceptable this “disproportionally restrictive measure”, as rightfully qualified by the OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media. 

We call on the Russian Federation to immediately release Ukrainian journalist Yevhen Agarkov and refrain from impeding journalist activities in the future.

Let me conclude, Mr.Chairman, by reiterating our request to the OSCE Swiss Chairmanship to use its good offices to facilitate immediate release of Ms.Savchenko.

  

Thank you, Mr.Chairman.

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