PACE President asks for help in securing Ukrainian pilot Nadiya Savchenko’s release

Anne Brasseur, the President of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, has asked Russian Duma Speaker Sergey Naryshkin for his assistance in securing the urgent release of detained Ukrainian pilot Nadiya Savchenko “in time to allow her to be present for the opening of the January part-session of the Assembly on Monday 26 January” as a member of the Ukrainian delegation.

In a letter to Mr Naryshkin, sent yesterday, the President said Ms Savchenko’s health had become critical following her hunger strike, and pointed out that the Minsk Protocol agreed by Russia and Ukraine foresees “the immediate release of all hostages and illegally held persons”.

“I therefore kindly ask you to take measures with your authorities to secure her urgent release under the Minsk Protocol or on humanitarian or other grounds,” the President wrote.

She pointed out that the pilot had been elected to the Ukrainian parliament, the Verkhovna Rada, and is in addition a member of the Ukrainian delegation to the Assembly.

“This is an issue which will continue to poison relations between Russia and Ukraine and put the life of a young woman at risk, unless it is resolved rapidly,” the President concluded.