UPDATED: Estonian MPs call for the release of the detained Ukrainian pilot

Seventy-two members of the Estonian parliament have voted in favour to pass a statement in support of Nadiya Savchenko, a member of the Ukrainian parliament and a military pilot, who is being illegally detained in Russia, demanding her release and return to Ukraine.

A member of the Foreign Affairs Committee of the Estonian parliament and a former minister of foreign affairs, Keit Pentus-Rosimannus, who presented the draft statement, said that sanctions should be imposed against the officials of Russia responsible for the violations of international law and the imprisoning of Savchenko.

The statement expresses “deep concern” over the fate of Savchenko, who was captured in Ukraine and is being illegally detained in Russia.

According to the statement, Savchenko was captured against her will on Ukrainian territory by members of the so-called Donbass People’s Militia on 17 June 2014. “In July 2014, the Investigative Committee of the Russian Federation announced that Savchenko ‘crossed the Russian border on her own accord’,” the statement added.

The Estonian MPs state that “it is obvious that by imprisoning and illegally detaining” Savchenko, “Russia has violated and is violating international law, including the Geneva Convention relative to the Treatment of Prisoners of War of 1949 and the Minsk Protocol of 5 September 2014, point 5 of which requests ‘immediate release of all hostages and illegally detained persons’.”

The Estonian parliament therefore calls “on the Russian Federation to immediately release Nadiya Savchenko and hand her over to Ukraine”. The MPs also demand that the Russian officials responsible for “the capture, detention and illegal trial” of Savchenko be banned from entering the EU.

Pentus-Rosimannus said that by today, Russia had “robbed 632 days from” Savchenko’s life. “During that time, she has been kept in solitary confinement, she has been forced to undergo psychiatric evaluation, and the so-called trial against her has become a political vengeance of Russia. It is obvious that Russia is violating international law.”

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Cover: Nadiya Savchenko in happier times, before her detention by the Russian Federation (courtesy of Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine)

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