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 May 2016
It is with joy and relief that yesterday the President and people of Ukraine warmly welcomed back to the native soil the member of the Ukrainian Parliament and PACE member Nadiya Savchenko, who spent almost two years in illegal detention in Russia after being abducted from the territory of Ukraine.
As promised, the President of Ukraine used all available possibilities in seeking release of Nadiya Savchenko from the Russian jail. In this connection he granted pardon to two Russian Special Forces servicemen, who had been captured in action, after attacking the Ukrainian positions in Luhansk oblast last May and killing one Ukrainian soldier. In April the court found them guilty on charges of conducting aggressive war and terrorist activities. The verdict was based, in particular, on confessions made by both captured servicemen.
We are grateful for solidarity and support of our international partners in seeking release of Nadiya Savchenko. It is such firm position based on principles and values that bears fruit. We consider her release as an important step towards full implementation of paragraph 6 of the Minsk Package of measures, envisaging release of all hostages and illegally detained persons on the basis of “all-for-all” principle, which is long overdue.
Many Ukrainian citizens remain behind bars in Russia under fabricated charges, including Mykola Karpyuk and Stanislav Klykh, who now face in Chechnya the mockery trial as was the case in relation to Nadiya Savchenko, Oleh Sentsov, Oleksandr Kolchenko and others. Over 120 Ukrainians, both military and civilians, remain in captivity in the occupied part of Donbas, often – in unacceptable conditions. The process of their release has been blocked by the Russia-backed militants.
We reiterate that release of all hostages and illegally detained persons remains a priority and they must all safely return home. We call on the Russian Federation to implement in full its Minsk commitments.
Thank you, Mr Chairperson.