Mother of Hunger-Striking Pilot Calls for Justice

Editor’s Note: Ukrainian fighter pilot Nadiya Savchenko started a “dry” hunger strike on March 3 after Russian prosecutors requested a 23-year sentence for Savchenko. In 2014, Savchenko was captured by the pro-Russian separatists in the Donbas, transferred to Russia, where she was accused of involvement in the death of two Russian journalists.

Savchenko’s mother Mariya Ivanivna Savchenko has written a letter to leaders in the United States, urging them to do four things to help save her daughter. The letter below has been edited for clarity.

March 7, 2016

Dear advocates for human rights and freedom,

I am the mother of Ukrainian pilot, officer, and MP Nadiya Savchenko.

On June 17, 2014, my daughter was kidnapped and transported to Russia with a bag on her head. Russian Secret Services held her as a hostage for twenty months already, depriving her of sleep and her basic human rights, and torturing her.

Now the Russian prosecution asks for a twenty-three year sentence, despite her innocence.

She has been put on a show trial with no exonerating evidence accepted.

On March 3, Nadiya started a hunger strike without water to oppose the Court of Injustice, which deprived her even from the right to say a last word.

I know my daughter. She is a true soldier. She will not give up.

If something is not done urgently, I will lose my daughter, and Ukraine will lose one of its most beloved patriots.

I beg of you, as a voice of many Americans and someone who may lead the United States in the future, to do these four things to help save my daughter:

  1. Condemn her false arrest;
  2. Call for her urgent release;
  3. Call for justice and sanctions against anyone involved in her false arrest, torture, and detention if she were to die; and
  4. Say the entire world is watching.

Thank you and God bless you,
Mariya Ivanivna Savchenko

Melinda Haring is the editor of the UkraineAlert at the Atlantic Council.

Image: Ukrainian fighter jet pilot Nadiya Savchenko appears in a Moscow court February 10, 2015. After a year of unrelenting detention, Savchenko is now accused of direct involvement in the deaths of two journalists, attempted murder motivated by hatred toward a social group, and illegally entering Russian territory. Russia hasn’t offered a shred of evidence that Savchenko committed any crime. “Facts do not play any role in this process,” her lawyer said. Credit: Creative Commons