I welcome today’s news that Nadiya Savchenko has returned to Ukraine and the Government of Ukraine’s humanitarian decision to release two Russian service members captured on Ukrainian soil and convicted of terrorism-related charges.
Nearly two years ago, Nadiya Savchenko was captured in combat in eastern Ukraine and forcibly taken against her will into Russia. Her release, after a long ordeal that included solitary confinement, is an important part of fulfilling Russia’s commitments under the Minsk agreements and should now provide impetus for their complete implementation. This includes a real, comprehensive, and sustained ceasefire in eastern Ukraine; full access for the OSCE to the area affected by the conflict; elections under Ukrainian law that meet OSCE standards and are monitored by the OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR); the withdrawal of foreign forces and equipment; and the return to Ukraine of full control over its international border. We also call on Russia to abide by its Minsk commitments by releasing all hostages and unlawfully detained persons.