Delivered by Ambassador Ihor Prokopchuk, Permanent Representative of Ukraine to the International Organizations in Vienna, at the meeting of the OSCE Permanent Council on 10 March 2016
As we meet the Russian Federation, in violation of its Minsk commitments and international obligations within the Council of Europe, continues to illegally detain the people’s deputy of Ukraine and member of the Permanent Delegation of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine to the PACE Nadiya Savchenko along with other Ukrainian citizens, who had been abducted from the territory of Ukraine.
Ukraine finds utterly unacceptable the injustice in the case of Nadiya Savchenko, illegally kept behind bars in Russia, who has been on a hunger strike since 18 December 2015 to protest against her illegal detention.
Ignoring the facts of Savchenko’s captivity by the illegal armed group well before the time of the fire she is accused of directing, of her covert transfer by force across the Ukrainian-Russian border, last week Russia’s prosecutor demanded to sentence Nadiya Savchenko to 23 years in prison.
On 04 March, in protest against a mockery trial and deliberate delay in the proceedings Nadiya Savchenko went to a full hunger strike, refusing even liquids.
On 09 March, the Donetsk City Court in Rostov region not only postponed sentencing court hearing for 12 days - until March 21, but also did not issue any permissions to Ukrainian consuls, doctors and Nadia’s family members, who had specially arrived to Russia, to visit Ukrainian citizen illegally detained in Russia.
Against the background of Ms. Savchenko’s 6th day dry hunger, which continues as a protest against Russia’s lawlessness, we consider such illegal decisions as conscious and cynical imposition of a death sentence against Ukrainian citizen who, due to her indomitable will and fortitude, has become a symbol of countering Russian aggression against Ukraine and international law order.
We once again draw attention to the extreme graveness of the situation, which endangers the life of Nadiya Savchenko and stress that Russia bears the entire responsibility for her life and health.
We express our sincere gratitude to the OSCE community for the wide support in demanding Russia to immediately release Nadiya Savchenko.
Up to 100 rallies took place worldwide for the 3d Global Day of Support for Nadiya Savchenko, held behind bars as a political prisoner in Russia. People urged Savchenko’s immediate release. Thousands of leading personalities, including Nobel Prize laureates, writers, professors, politicians, civic activists, philosophers and artists representing over 20 countries worldwide, have signed and circulated the respective open petition urging “emergency measures" in seeking Savchenko's immediate release.
We are very grateful to the people in Russia who despite the risks of persecution went out into the street in different cities to demand release of N.Savchenko. Such public stance requires real courage in today’s Russia, many of them got detained and arrested by the Russian authorities.
As Russia proceeds with this staged trial, it shows contempt for numerous appeals by international organizations, states and civil society, as well as for the international law alike.
We urge Russia to fulfill its Minsk commitments and to immediately release Ms.Savchenko. We remind that it also remains Russia’s legal obligation under the 1949 General Agreement on Privileges and Immunities of the Council of Europe to release Ms.Savchenko as a person enjoying diplomatic immunities as a PACE member.
We welcome yesterday’s statement by the Special Representative of the German Federal Government for the OSCE Chairmanship Gernot Erler, recognizing that the rule-of-law principles have not been upheld in the trial against Nadiya Savchenko and urging Russia to adhere to its human rights commitments and release Ms.Savchenko.
We call on the OSCE community to step up political and diplomatic pressure to ensure the release of N.Savchenko and other illegally detained Ukrainian citizens in Russia. We believe that concerted international efforts must prevent human tragedies and save life of Nadiya Savchenko.
We urge the Russian Federation to demonstrate compliance with its obligations under international law and the Minsk agreements and to immediately and unconditionally release Ukrainian citizens Nadiya Savchenko, Oleg Sentsov, Oleksandr Kolchenko and others, who are illegally kept behind bars in Russia.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.