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Statement by the Delegation of Ukraine on "Abduction and illegal detention of Ukrainian citizens by the Russian Federation”
27 February 2015 18:30

Delivered by Ambassador Ihor Prokopchuk, Permanent Representative of Ukraine to the International Organizations in Vienna at the meeting of the OSCE Permanent Council on 26 February 2015

Mr. Chairman,

It is today 75 days as Nadiya Savchenko, people’s deputy of Ukraine and member of the Permanent Delegation of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine to the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, who had been abducted and illegally detained by the Russian Federation, has been on a hunger strike in protest against the illegal and inhumane actions of the Russian authorities.

According to doctors, Savchenko’s health condition is critical. It is seriously affected by irreversible processes. Despite this fact, Nadiya Savchenko is resolute to continue her protest because she is innocent and the evidence of her innocence was presented to the court and prosecution. She will be supported by the global action “Free Savchenko” on 1 March 2015.

Against this backdrop we view yesterday’s Moscow City Court decision to introduce new trumped-up charges and extend the detention of Nadiya Savchenko, who, according to the judge “does not suffer from diseases that prevent her stay in custody", as a clear signal that punitive nature of the Russian regime has no limits and the clamp-down on human rights reported by international human rights organizations extends not only to Russian citizens, but also foreigners.

We express our resolute protest over the deliberate illegal and inhumane actions of the Russian authorities. We emphasize that Russia bears full responsibility for the life and health of Nadiya Savchenko.

We view as unacceptable that no positive developments have taken place in relation to Savchenko case despite the commitments undertaken by Russia in Minsk on 12 February and its obligations as a Council of Europe member-state and a party to a number of international conventions.

We remind to the Russian side that at the meeting in the Normandy format in Minsk it was agreed that all hostages and illegally detained persons must be released within 19 days. We underline that this agreed measure fully covers the case of Nadiya Savchenko.

We urge Russia to strictly adhere to its commitments and release Savchenko without any delay. Any attempt by Russia to put this issue outside the Minsk package will be considered as grave violation of commitments undertaken by Russia in Minsk.

We are grateful to numerous delegations, who supported our joint endeavor to free Savchnenko at a side-event “Abduction and Illegal Detention of Ukrainian Pilot, People’s Deputy of Ukraine Nadiya Savchenko by the Russian Federation” on the margins of the OSCE PA winter session in Vienna last week. It was important that we could hear first-hand information from her defence lawyer and sister about the abuses of the rule of law principles in Russia that N.Savchenko has to endure.

As Savchenko’s life is in critical danger there is no right to lose any single moment and opportunity to facilitate her immediate release.

We welcome the statement by the Spokesperson for the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Rupert Colville on 20 February calling on the Russian authorities to release Savchenko immediately on humanitarian grounds, as her condition is worrying.

We call on the OSCE Chairmanship to use all instruments at its disposal to facilitate immediate release of N.Savchenko.

Dear colleagues,

The Ukrainian side reiterates its protest against the continued attempts by Russian authorities to fabricate new trumped-up charges against Oleg Sentsov, Oleksandr Kolchenko and other Ukrainian political prisoners in Russia.

Oleg Sentsov, Ukrainian filmmaker and a lone father bringing up two young children, has been issued with new trumped-up charges only few days after the PACE urged Russia to release him. The period of detention for both Sentsov and Kolchenko has been extended till April 2015, despite the absence of any credible evidences of their guilt. By insisting, in violation of international law, that Kolchenko and Sentsov are Russian citizens, Russia denies their rights, including access to a Ukrainian consul, to which they are entitled to as Ukrainian citizens.

We reiterate that the actions of the Russian authorities in these cases are politically motivated and illegal. We call on the Russian Federation to immediately and unconditionally release Nadiya Savchenko and all other Ukrainian citizens, who had been abducted from the territory of Ukraine, and are illegally detained in Russia.  

Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

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