By Maria Semenchenko, Den’ [Day], Kyiv newspaper, “Ukraine’s Day” section, #232
Translated and edited by Voices of Ukraine
“Nadiya is doing everything right.” The Russian court has extended Nadiya Savchenko’s arrest until April 16, 2015; she has announced a hunger strike.
A photo of Nadiya Savchenko at the court hearing spread online like wildfire yesterday. Dressed in a promotional T-shirt of the Day newspaper that her sister Vira was able to pass along, Nadiya wrote a single question on it, “When are you going to set free the Ukrainians you abducted and illegally detain in Russian prisons?” This question was addressed to the Russian President Vladimir Putin, who held his traditional end-of-the-year press conference at the same time. During the conference, Roman Tsymbaliuk, a Ukrainian journalist from the informational agency “UNIAN” asked [Putin] a similar question. [Roman] received the answer that: “the exchange of Ukrainian hostages, who are held in Russia, must be equal.”
At the same time, a panel of judges presiding over the case of the Ukrainian pilot in the Donetsk City Court of Rostov region has denied a request to admit the documents into evidence in the criminal case, made previously by the defense [counsel]. [The documents] were received via the Ukrainian Consulate General in Rostov-on-Don. Savchenko’s attorney Nikolay Polozov also wrote that “the court has granted the prosecution’s request to extend the detention of Nadiya Savchenko until April 16, 2016.” In response, Nadiya stated that she was on a hunger strike until the court’s ruling, and after the ruling, she would be refusing water as well.
“This continued detention until April 16 became a rather unexpected [development] for me. Like a bolt from the blue. This is really bad. But Nadya [diminutive from Nadiya] has announced her hunger strike. Nadya is doing everything right, she shows that once “the goods are spoiling – you need to sell [them off] fast, [that is] exchange [her fast]. But they are haggling instead. She is doing her work, [trying] to save herself. This is important,” Vira Savchenko, the sister of the illegally detained [pilot], stated to Den’ newspaper.
“Putin wants to exchange all for all – he said so. He was asked whether he was ready to exchange Yerofeev and Aleksandrov [a Russian soldier and an FSB officer detained and held in Ukraine] for Savchenko, Sentsov, Kolchenko, Afanasiyev, Karpiuk, and others [Ukrainian detainees in Russia], and Putin said that he needed an equitable exchange. That is, there are too few Russian detainees in Ukraine for him. Does he imply that we now have the task of catching Russians in Syria? Or do we need to exchange the militia held at detention centers in Kyiv? Does Putin [really] need them? But these are the people of Donbas, the ones Putin is [allegedly] defending. Maybe he is not aware of them?,” Vira Savchenko continues.
A position was voiced that Putin and Poroshenko are on the same page regarding the issue [of exchange]. But the question remains, of what exactly are they in agreement? We need to think and analyze what is happening. From what I have heard, Putin allegedly wants to exchange the prisoners. Doesn’t Poroshenko want the exchange as well? I do not believe that he does not. So what is the problem after all?”
[Video of Ukrainian journalist Roman Tsymbaliuk asking Vladimir Putin at 0:15.]
Vira talked about how she plans to go to Russia in the nearest future. Both she and their mother, Maria Ivanivna, will go. They are permitted to visit Nadiya. Vira is not afraid to go to Russia, but she notes that now she has to be more careful. “I definitely know that if Russia really wanted, it would put me in prison – they have no law there. That is why they simply flex their muscles now, and it really got more frightening to go there. That is why I only cross the border with the [Ukrainian] consul in a consular car. I am grateful to the Ukrainian Ministry of Foreign Affairs for doing this,” she says.
Not so long ago, Vira bought books published by the Den’ newspaper – the new journalistic investigative trilogy and books on history. At our request, she gave her sister a T-shirt Nadiya wore in court yesterday [December 15, 2015]. “The T-shirt really looks good on Nadya,” – Vira says. “But I did not give your books to my sister. First, I bought the books for myself. I am not done reading them because I am forced to devote all my time to this pseudo-court, but I did manage to start them. I will make sure to finish reading them. Second, it is difficult to pass Ukrainian books over to Nadya. [The Russian authorities] confiscated even the books written by [my sister] at the border. And this situation is not only limited to Nadya. I sent your book to Karpiuk – I think it was Petro Hryhorenko (“Armored journalistic investigations” series – Ed.) – and they let it through. But now, the prisoners are prohibited from receiving Ukrainian books and press. I bought different magazines and the Den’ newspaper and sent them to the detainees [before]. And I am afraid that now everything gets thrown away. This is how it is for now. For now, they keep on tightening the screws,” Vira summarized.
UNIAN’s report of Putin’s revelations: