Nadiya Savchenko

Nadiya Viktorivna Savchenko (; born 11 May 1981) is a Ukrainian politician and former Army aviation pilot in the Ukrainian Ground Forces. She is a member of the Verkhovna Rada (the Ukrainian parliament) and the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe. During the 2014 War in Donbass, Savchenko, a first lieutenant in the Ukrainian Ground Forces, served as instructor with a volunteer infantry unit, Aidar Battalion. In June, 2014 she was captured by pro-Russian forces in eastern Ukraine and handed over to Russia, where she was accused of having directed artillery fire that killed two Russian state-television journalists at the positions of pro-Russian forces in Ukraine. She was subsequently charged and convicted of murder and illegally crossing Russian state border despite being abducted from Ukrainian territory one hour before the deaths of the journalists. One of her lawyers, Mark Feygin, says she is a prisoner-of-war and has called on the International Committee of the Red Cross and the United Nations to demand her immediate release and that of the other Ukrainian POWs lest Russia be held in violation of the Geneva Conventions. European Union ministers and their representative regard her detention as illegal and that her trial does not respect basic human rights, including the right to fair proceedings. In November 2014, while still imprisoned, Savchenko was elected to the Verkhovna Rada in the 2014 Ukrainian parliamentary election, and she formally resigned from her military post. On 25 May 2016, Savchencko was exchanged in a prisoner swap for Russian GRU officers Yevgeny Yerofeyev and Alexander Alexandrov captured by Ukraine. Savchenko was one of Ukraine’s first women to train as a military airplane pilot, and is the only female aviator to pilot the Sukhoi Su-24 bomber and the Mil Mi-24 helicopter.

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