Extradition process started for Ukrainian pilot Savchenko

Thu 28 Apr 2016

Extradition process started for Ukrainian pilot Savchenko

On 27 April Ukrainian pilot Nadia Savchenko received official forms for her extradition to Ukraine, her lawyer said. But the entire process could take one to two months. Savchenko was sentenced to jail on 22 March for being allegedly involved in the killing of two Russian journalists during fights in eastern Ukraine. 

Arrested in Russia
Savchenko had taken leave from her job as a military pilot to volunteer with Ukraine's ground forces fighting against the separatists in eastern Ukraine. She was captured in July 2014 by pro-Russian forces, and was handed over to the Russian authorities. Since then she was held in a prison in Moscow but denied all the accusations. In prison she started several hunger strikes to protest her detention. Recently, on 22 March, a southern Russian court found her guilty and sentenced her  to 22 years in prison.

Prisoner exchange
On April 19th Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko said he and  Russian President Vladimir Putin agreed on the framework for a prisoner swap with soldiers captured in Ukraine that Kyiv says were active Russian soldiers. He said: “As a result of yesterday’s talks, there is the possibility of a few tweaks being made on the issue of Savchenko and other Ukrainian citizens.” Poroshenko also said Savchenko had agreed to put an end to her hunger strike during their phone conversation. According to her lawyers her condition is critical, she is completely exhausted from the strikes.

Sister detained

Nadia’s sister, Vira Savchenko, was stopped and detained at the Russian boarder after she visited her sister in prison in Russia that same day.  In the evening Vira locked herself with a Ukrainian consul in a diplomatic car when her passport had been borrowed by Russian law-enforcement officers, who wanted to interrogate her. After waiting in the blocked car for many hours, they were allowed to leave for the Ukrainian consulate in the Russian city of Rostov-on-Don. The Russian border guards claimed that Vira Savchenko is wanted by the Russian police for insulting a Chechen judge in the case of Ukrainian citizens Mykola Karpiuk and Stanislav Klykh.

Sources: Reuters1, 2, RFE/RL1, 2, Unian1, 2 3Moscowtimes