March 2016

More than 270 Prominent Personalities Signed the Appeal to Free Ukrainian Pilot Nadia Savchenko

More than 270 leading personalities (writers, professors, politicians, civic activists, philosophers, and artists) representing at least 20 countries worldwide have signed the international open letter to European leaders with the demand to take emergency measures to release Ukrainian pilot Nadia Savchenko. 

We appeal to you to take emergency measures with the goal of the immediate and unconditional release of 34-year-old Nadia Savchenko, a Ukrainian citizen, kidnapped and imprisoned for more than twenty months in the Russian Federation. The Russian authorities have made a mockery of civil rights, international law, and their own Constitution. They show disdain for the international community and the Minsk Protocol alike. So far, all efforts of the international community have proven unsuccessful. On March 4, in protest against the proceedings of the Russian court, Nadia Savchenko announced a full hunger strike, refusing even liquids, 

they stated in the open letter and concluded the following: 

Our ability to save her life will test the effectiveness of international diplomacy and our commitment to European values.

Among the signatories of this petition are:

Svitlana Aleksievich, writer, Nobel Prize Winner in Literature (Belarus)
Tomas Venclova, writer, Nobel Prize Winner in Literature (Lithuania/USA)
Elfriede Jelinek, writer, Nobel prize Winner in Literature (Austria)
Philippe de Suremain, former Ambassador of France in Ukraine (France)
Guy Verhofstadt, President of the Group of Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe in the European Parliament, former Prime Minister of Belgium (Belgium)
Victor Shenderovich, writer (Russia)
Agnieszka Holland, film director (Poland)
Andrej Plenković, Member of the European Parliament, Co-Chair of the Parliamentary EU-UA Association Committee (Croatia)
Luboš Dobrovský, minister at Vaclav Havel Presidency, former Ambassador of Czech Republic to Russian Federation (Czech Republic)
Viola von Cramon, Member of the Bundestag 2009-2013 (Germany)
Mikhail Epstein, Professor of Cultural Theory and Russian Literature, Emory University, Atlanta (USA)
Peter Pomerantsev, journalist (UK)
Fedor Gál, writer (Slovakia)
Manfred Baechler, microbiologist (Switzerland)
Ilian Vassilev, former Ambassador of Bulgaria to Russia, Managing Partner Innovative Energy Solutions Ltd. (Bulgaria)
Radu Magdin, analyst, former advisor to Prime Minister (Romania)
Yuriy Andrukhovych, writer (Ukraine)
Bogumila Berdychowska, journalist/civic society activist, Krytyka's board member (Poland)
Oleksandr Boychenko, writer (Ukraine)
Borys Khersonsky, poet, president of Ukrainian Psychologist and Psychotherapist Society (Ukraine)
Ola Hnatiuk, scholar (Poland/Ukraine)
Yaroslav Hrytsak, historian (Ukraine)
Natalia Humeniuk, journalist (Ukraine)
Volodymyr Yermolenko, philosopher (Ukraine)
Andriy Kurkov, writer, journalist (Ukraine) 
The petition can be signed at (in English, German, French, and many other languages).

Nadia Savchenko’s Final Word in Court

(English translation)

I want to apologize to the audience for my emotional behaviour. The fact is, it's very difficult to listen to the same lies over and over again for six months and then hear them repeated all day long. Therefore, I couldn't help reacting to the prosecutor's speech like I did.

Now, regarding the debate. During this long and tedious six-month trial we learned that guilt was proven in the course of the judicial process. That guilt is of the Russian journalists [Savchenko is accused of involvement in the deaths of two Russian journalists - Tr.]. They are guilty of lying and of providing false, distorted information regarding events in Ukraine, the world, and in Russia. They are to blame for neglecting their own security. If they had worn body armour, they would have survived. If they had not hung around where they shouldn't have, they would have stayed alive.

Russian TV channels were also found guilty. The channels, their owners and their editors are guilty for sending their people - unprepared, unprotected - to their certain death, just for the sake of spreading pretty pictures and false information. They wanted to boost their ratings and made a quick buck. But they absolutely do not care about their journalists. They are the ones who are above all responsible for the deaths of Korneliuk and Voloshin [the two Russian journalists whose deaths Savchenko is accused of involvement in – Tr.].

We watched here a video of Russia's Channel 5, in which a reporter said Ukrainian media were lying and Korneliuk and Voloshin in fact were wearing helmets and body armor. But even in this very courtroom it has been proven they had neither helmets nor body armor. We can arrive at the conclusion that Russian TV channels are telling lies.

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