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Savchenko meets lawmakers, presented with dagger in Prague

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Prague, Jan 13 (CTK) – Ukrainian deputy Nadiya Savchenko met Czech lawmakers at the close of her three-day visit to Prague on Friday to seek support for Ukrainian prisoners in Russia and Czech cooperation with Ukrainian politicians, and she was presented with an ornamental dagger in appreciation of her courage.

“For several years now, we have considered you a symbol of freedom and resistance against an aggressor,” Miroslav Kalousek, head of the right-wing opposition TOP 09 party, told Savchenko when giving the present to her.

Apart from TOP 09, the meeting was also attended by lawmakers for the junior government Christian Democrats (KDU-CSL).

Like on other occasions during her visit, Savchenko thanked for the support the Czechs expressed for her when she was staying in Russian jail and during the trial.

Last March, a Russian court sentenced Savchenko to 22 years in prison for assisting in the killing of two Russian journalists in eastern Ukraine. In May, Moscow swapped her for two Russian soldiers convicted and imprisoned in Ukraine.

As a Ukrainian lawmaker, Savchenko has sought the release of other war prisoners by Russia.

She promoted the goal at her meeting with Czech lawmakers on Friday, also mentioning a massive jailing of political prisoners from Crimea.

“I know you have repeatedly expressed strong support for me and whole Ukraine. I am grateful for it. There are other imprisoned men who need your support,” Savchenko said.

Apart from Kalousek, the deputies who met Savchenko included TOP 09 honorary chairman and former foreign minister Karel Schwarzenberg and TOP 09 deputy chairman Marek Zenisek, who have been both blacklisted by Russia for supporting Ukraine.

Zenisek said attention must continue to be paid to the situation in Ukraine.

“Some of us emphasised during the meeting on Friday that we face a systematic pressure across Europe on us to stop paying attention to Ukraine as the country does not deserve it. It does deserve [the world’s attention],” Zenisek said.

Savchenko, a former military pilot, arrived in the Czech Republic at the invitation of KDU-CSL MEP Pavel Svoboda on Wednesday. She met journalists and NGO representatives during her visit.

On Thursday she met TOP 09 MEPs and senators and had a glass of beer together with Svoboda and other KDU-CSL MEPs, Michaela Sojdrova and Tomas Zdechovsky.

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