On May 25th Ukrainian pilot Nadia Savchenko, who had been detained in Russia for almost two years, arrived home in Ukraine. Savchenko was exchanged in a prisoner swap for two Russian special forces members, Alexander Alexandrov and Yevgeny Yerofeev, who were detained in Kiev.
When arriving at the airport in Kiev, Savchenko said to the crowd “I am free”. She also told reporters: “I am ready to once again give my life for Ukraine on the battlefield.”
Savchenko was captured fighting against the separatists in eastern Ukraine in July 2014 by pro-Russian forces, who handed her over to the Russian authorities. She was accused of being involved in the killing of two Russian journalists during fights in eastern Ukraine. On 22 March a Russian court found her guilty and sentenced her with 22 years in prison. But before her return to Ukraine today, president Putin granted her a pardon and allow her to return home
Symbol of resistance
On 26 October 2015, while Savchenko was still in prison in Moscow, she was elected to the Ukrainian parliament as a member of the Batkivshyna Party and was named to the delegation to the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe . President Petro Poroshenko also awarded Savchenko with the highest national honour, the Gold Star Hero of Ukraine.
Sources: Reuters, BBC, Unian, RFE/RL, Kyivpost