Saturday, 23 June 2018

Ukrainian MP Savchenko thanks Czech NGOs for support

12 January 2017

Prague, Jan 11 (CTK) - Ukrainian MP Nadiya Savchenko thanked for support for her when she was in Russian prison at a closed meeting with representatives of Czech NGOs on Wednesday, Monika Klimentova, from the office of MEP Pavel Svoboda who invited Savchenko to Prague, has told CTK.

Savchenko arrived in the Czech Republic Wednesday morning and she will stay in the country until Friday.

Some 65 people attended the meeting with Savchenko on Wednesday.

"They are representatives of non-government organisations that support Ukraine and who participated in the chain hunger strike for Savchenko's release," Klimentova told CTK.

Jan Dohnal, from Amnesty International, said Savchenko spoke about why she was imprisoned in Russia, about international support for her and about support her family showed her.

In the other part of the meeting, she answered questions concerning other Ukrainian soldiers kept in Russion prisons, for instance.

The meeting was also attended by people from the Prague Maidan pro-Ukrainian group and the People in Need Czech humanitarian NGOs, Klimentova told CTK.

One of the participants invited was a ten-year-old girl who also joined the chain hunger strike, she added.

On Thursday, Savchenko will give a press conference in Prague's Lucerna Palace.

Originally, she was also to attend a meeting in the Senate, but the organisers cancelled it because a similar event would take place in the Chamber of Deputies on Friday, Klimentova said.

"Senators can take part in the meeting in the Chamber of Deputies," she added.

All members of the opposition TOP 09 deputy group will attend the morning meeting with Savchenko, TOP 09 deputy head Marek Zenisek told CTK last week.

He, TOP 09 honorary chairman Karel Schwarzenberg, head of the lower house foreign committee, and MP Kristyna Zelienkova are among the personalities whom Savchenko wants to meet during her stay in Prague.

Former military pilot Savchenko, 35, was arrested in June 2014 and charged with directing fire at Russian journalists, two of whom died, as a member of a voluntary unit fighting on the side of the government forces in the east of Ukraine.

In the Russian prison, Savchenko went on hunger strike in protest against her arrest and unjust trial. Last March, she was found guilty of illegally crossing the Russian border and murdering two journalists and given 22 years in prison. She was released in May 2016 in a swap for two Russians convicted in Ukraine.

After her return home, Savchenko started being involved in politics. She is mainly striving for the release of further prisoners of war. Recently, she met commanders of pro-Russian separatists to reach this, which provoked criticism in Ukraine.

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