Statement of Ukraine’s Foreign Ministry on Russia’s Violation of Nadiya Savchenko’s Rights (10.02.2015)
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine expresses its resolute protest over the decision of the Basmanny District Court of Moscow, the Russian Federation, of February 10, to extend the detention for Ukraine’s Member of Parliament, Member of Ukraine’s PACE Delegation Nadiya Savchenko.
The Court has taken into account neither evidence compiled by the defense, proving noninvolvement of the Ukraine’s citizen in incriminated deeds, nor the petition to change preventive measure for N.Savchenko submitted along with guarantees of Ukraine’s Embassy in Russia and Ukraine’s Parliament Commissioner for Human Rights, nor a considerable deterioration of health of N.Savchenko.
Moreover, the Russian authorities have ignored PACE call to immediately free N.Savchenko as a person enjoying diplomatic immunity of PACE Member, thus, violating its obligations as a Council of Europe member and a party to a number of international conventions.
In this regard, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine emphasizes that Russia bears the entire responsibility for the life and health of Nadiya Savchenko who has been on a hunger strike for 60 days already to protest against her illegal taking out to Russia’s territory and detention.
We demand that the Russian Federation immediately free Nadiya Savchenko and all otherRussia-held political prisoners – citizens of Ukraine. We call upon the international community to strengthen political and diplomatic pressure upon the Russian Federation to free all Ukrainian citizens who continue to be illegally detained in the territory of Russia.
Article of Batkivshchyna faction leader Yulia Tymoshenko in HUFFPOST BUSINESS “Can Minsk 2.0 Save Ukraine?” (24.02.2014)
(…) “Now, after a year of savagery, sabotage, and mendacity on a scale unseen since Nazi rule in Europe, the leaders of France, Germany, Russia and Ukraine have agreed on a new roadmap to peace for our country. I must hope against hope that the agreement reached in Minsk, unlike the accord signed there in September 2014, succeeds. The people of Donbas, still bombarded and besieged by Russian troops and their local accomplices, deserve a return to normalcy.
Equally important, our prisoners of war and hostages deserve to be returned to their families. An early test of the extent of the Kremlin’s commitment to the Minsk agreement should be whether it frees Nadiya Savchenko, Ukraine’s first woman fighter pilot. Savchenko has been on a hunger strike in Russia for more than two months to protest her patently illegal incarceration on charges even more ludicrous than those for which I was imprisoned.” (…)
PACE President asks for help in securing Ukrainian pilot Nadiya Savchenko’s release (21.01.2015)
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.
European Parliament resolution of 15 January 2015 on the situation in Ukraine (2014/2965(RSP))
(…) “7. Calls for the continuation of the current EU sanctions regime, in particular with a view to the upcoming March 2015 Council meeting, as long as Russia does not fully respect and, above all, deliver on its Minsk obligations, and urges the Commission to find ways to enhance solidarity among Member States should the crisis with Russia continue; stresses the need to adopt a clear set of benchmarks which, when achieved, could prevent imposing new restrictive measures against Russia or lead to lifting of the previous ones, including: implementation of the ceasefire, unconditional withdrawal from Ukraine of all Russian troops and Russian-backed illegal armed groups and mercenaries, exchange of all prisoners including Nadia Savchenko, and restoration of Ukraine’s control over its whole territory, including Crimea; in the case of any further Russian actions destabilising Ukraine, invites the European Council to take up further restrictive measures and broaden their scope, by covering the nuclear sector and by limiting the ability of Russian entities to conduct international financial transactions; recognises that the EU must be ready to support bordering Member States, which should be given the same level of security as all Member States;” (…)
Despite announced ceasefire, UN confirms fighting still heavy in eastern Ukraine (20.02.2015)
While the 15 February ceasefire has led to a decrease in hostilities in east Ukraine, the United Nations human rights office today expressed deep worry over the fate of civilians and Ukrainian servicemen in the Debaltseve area, where heavy fighting has continued as a result of repeated breaches of the truce.
“It is unclear how many civilians are trapped while fighting rages in the town, how many have been wounded or killed, and whether they now have access to medical and other basic services,” UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) spokesperson Rupert Colville told reporters in Geneva today.
“We deeply regret also that OSCE [Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe] monitors were not, and still have not been, allowed access to this area. We are also concerned about the resumed shelling of populated areas, in the cities of Donetsk and Mariupol in particular,” he added.
Mr. Colville it is crucial that the ceasefire is respected and the fighting stops, especially in built-up areas, and that the Minsk Agreements are fully implemented.
The death toll since the beginning of the conflict in mid-April 2014 has now risen to at least 5,692 as of Wednesday, 18 February. At least 14,122 people have also been wounded in the east of Ukraine. However, this is a “conservative estimate” and the actual numbers may be considerably higher, Mr. Colville said.
“A further increase in the number of recorded casualties is expected in the coming days because reporting on casualties during the pre-ceasefire period, and especially in recent days in Debaltseve, has been considerably delayed.”
He added that the condition of captured Ukrainian pilot Nadiia Savchenko, who has been detained in Moscow since July last year, is also worrying. Today is the 70th day of her hunger strike. And according to her lawyer, she decided to refuse glucose injections which were being given to her. Mr. Colville called on the Russian authorities to release her immediately.
News conference of Vladimir Putin (18.12.2014)
(…) ROMAN TSYMBALYUK: The number one on the list of Yulia Tymoshenko’s party, Batkivshchyna, is currently in a Russian prison. I have a question: On what conditions will you release Ukrainian pilot Savchenko, Ukrainian film director Oleg Sentsov and at least 30 Ukrainian prisoners of war whom you are keeping in various prisons in Russia? Thank you.
VLADIMIR PUTIN: Let’s begin with the second question, and then I will certainly answer your first question. The question about Ukrainian citizen Savchenko and the conditions for her release. I have an open and, as far as I can see, a clear position on this issue. You can see in this audience the colleagues of our journalists – they are also your colleagues – who have died in the line of duty in southeast Ukraine. I want to stress that they did not take part in fighting for any of the sides, and they were unarmed. It is the duty of all state agencies, including the military ones, to protect their lives and health and to give them an opportunity to do their professional duty which is to provide objective and full information, at least as they see it. It is a fact that has been recognised in the civilised world. They have been killed. According to our law enforcement agencies, Ms Savchenko called in artillery fire via radio. If it is reliably established during the pretrial investigation and the subsequent trial that she was not involved and is not guilty, she will be released immediately. But if they prove that she was indeed involved in the journalists’ murder, a Russian court will issue a proper ruling, as I see it, and she will serve her sentence in accordance with the verdict. However, no one has the right to hold anyone guilty of a crime on account. I mean that Russian legislation includes the presumption of innocence. So we’ll see how the pretrial investigation proceeds, and what conclusions the Russian court will make.
As for the other servicemen you have mentioned, we don’t consider them prisoners of war. They are in detainment in Russia, and they are being investigated on suspicion of involvement in terrorist activity. This is all I can say on your second question.
Now to the first question, about responsibility. In Russia, like in any other presidential republic, it is the president who is responsible for everything. And responsibility for military personnel rests with the Commander-in-Chief. Let me remind you that in Russia this is one and the same person.
All those who are following their heart and are fulfilling their duty by voluntarily taking part in hostilities, including in southeast Ukraine, are not mercenaries, since they are not paid for what they do.
Russian public opinion holds that what is now happening in southeast Ukraine is actually a punitive operation, but it is conducted by the Kiev authorities and not the other way around. The self-defence fighters of the southeast were not the ones who sent troops to Kiev. On the contrary, the Kiev authorities amassed their military forces in the southeast of Ukraine, and are using multiple rocket launchers, artillery and fighter jets.
What is the problem here and how it can be solved? I’ll try to answer this question as well. The problem is that after the government coup (and no matter how others call it and what is being said in this respect, a government coup was carried out in Kiev by military means) part of the country did not agree with these developments.
Instead of at least trying to engage in dialogue with them, Kiev started by sending law enforcers, the police force, but when that didn’t work out, they sent in the army, and since that didn’t work out either, they are now trying to settle the issue by using other forceful methods, the economic blockade.
I believe that this path has absolutely no future whatsoever and is detrimental to Ukraine’s statehood and its people. I hope that by engaging in dialogue – and we are ready to assume the role of intermediaries in this respect – we will succeed in establishing a direct, political dialogue, and by employing such methods and political instruments we will reach a settlement and restore a single political space”. (…)
Comment by the Information and Press Department on a Ukraine related statement by spokesperson for the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (24.02.2015)
The Foreign Ministry has become aware of certain statements made by Rupert Colville, an official spokesperson for the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights at a briefing in Geneva.
Following the nonobjective and biased stance of the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) on the Ukrainian issue, Rupert Colville made an attempt to place responsibility for the breach of the ceasefire entirely on the self-defence forces of southeastern Ukraine. Meanwhile, the shelling of residential areas in Donetsk and other cities was described as if it occurs of its own accord and the Ukrainian armed forces have nothing to do with it. Such a lopsided approach can hardly assist in fulfilling the Minsk agreements, which, we assume, the OHCHR is concerned about.
Moreover, the UN official allowed himself to urge the Russian government to immediately release Ukrainian pilot Nadezhda Savchenko for humanitarian reasons.
As a reminder, Nadezhda Savchenko is charged with a grave crime, complicity in the murder of Russian journalists. The European Court of Human Rights refused to apply Rule 39 of the Rules of Court to this case, which confirms that the detention of the Ukrainian national is justified and legitimate.
We consider this statement a presumptuous and straightforward attempt to force justice. It is absolutely unacceptable that a UN executive body would publicly call for a UN member state to breach the supremacy of law and attempts to influence a trial. The official spokesman for the OHCHR literally called for a defendant to be released without investigation or trial while the same office states that it is imperative to investigate all attacks on journalists and punish the guilty through an efficient intrastate system of criminal justice.
We would not like to think that OHCHR staff intentionally distort facts or voice opinions that are so far from reality. We insist that the OHCHR rigorously observes Articles 100 and 101 of the UN Charter, which includes ensuring a high level of staff competence, honesty and impartiality when fulfilling their duties.
Briefing by the official representative of the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Alexander Lukashevich, 10 July 2014, Externer Link: http://mid.ru/bdomp/brp_4.nsf/e78a48070f128a7b43256999005bcbb3/170f87e18fe6bc5544257d1600210a01!OpenDocument