Bulgarian Foreign Minister Daniel Mitov, in his capacity as head of the committee of ministers of the Council of Europe, called on March 11 for Russia to immediately release Ukrainian pilot Nadiya Savchenko, saying he was deeply disturbed by reports that her health was rapidly deteriorating.
Savchenko, captured by Russian-backed separatists and taken to Russia two years ago, is on trial in that country for alleged involvement in the killing of two Russian journalists in Ukraine in 2014. She rejects the charges. The court is due to pronounce its verdict on March 21 and 22. Prosecutors have asked for Savchenko (34) to be jailed for 23 years.
Mitov said that the case of Savchenko had been raised repeatedly in the Council of Europe’s committee of ministers, which already has called for Savchenko’s release on humanitarian grounds.
He issued a reminder that Savchenko and any other person under Russian jurisdiction has a right to a fair trial and adequate conditions of detention.
“Once again, I emphasise the importance of each member state of the Council of Europe to fully perform its obligations under the relevant instruments of the Council of Europe, and in particular the European Convention on Human Rights,” Mitov said.
On March 10, EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini called for the immediate release of Savchenko.
“I have been following with the utmost personal attention the case of Ukrainian pilot Nadiya Savchenko since the very beginning. This is no longer just a judicial or political case: now it’s a matter of human compassion,” Mogherini said.
“Her health condition is deteriorating rapidly and we all fear terrible consequences,” the EU foreign policy chief said.
“Her release would be in line with Russia’s international human rights commitments as well as with the ‘Package of measures for the implementation of the Minsk agreements’ and the commitment therein to release all hostages and detained persons related to the conflict in eastern Ukraine. For these reasons, I call on the Russian authorities to immediately and unconditionally release Ms Savchenko on humanitarian grounds.”
Mogherini said that Savchenko was abducted from Ukraine into Russia. Her illegal detention and trial in Russia have not respected basic human rights, including the right to fair proceedings, as clearly confirmed by international observers.
The European Union has repeatedly called for Savchenko’s immediate release, Mogherini said.