The U.S. is insisting on the immediate and unconditional release of Nadiya Savchenko, as reported on Saturday, March 12th, by the attorney for the Ukrainian, Ilya Novikov, who, in his own words, has been in the United States for three weeks, with breaks only to attend the court hearings in Savchenko’s case.
During this time, he says he has had nearly three dozen meetings with American politicians and diplomats regarding the release of the Ukrainian pilot. And in Washington, he said, they are "surprisingly well aware of the subject" of the investigation of Savchenko’s case in Russia.
A "breakthrough" in the thus far restrained attitude of the U.S. to this issue, says the attorney, happened last week when Secretary of State John Kerry and Vice President Joe Biden made strong statements that the U.S. does not recognize Savchenko’s trial as a solely internal Russian case and believe that she was taken to Russia by force and demand her unconditional release.
"The main summary for today: The refusal to release Nadiya will not satisfy the U.S. and will not end the conversation. Savchenko’s trial is not recognized as an internal Russian case. Oral protests will not be enough to close the case," summed up the lawyer on his Facebook page.
Meanwhile, the Advisor to the Chairman of the Security Service of Ukraine, Yuriy Tandit, said that during the meeting of the Trilateral Contact Group in Minsk, the Russians refused to discuss any options that included Savchenko’s release. "We have officially announced that we are ready to consider options for her release. But today the representatives of the Russian Federation refused to consider the question of Nadiya Savchenko’s release," Ukrinform quoted Tandit as saying.
Nadiya Savchenko has been charged with the murder of two Russian journalists. It is widely believed that Savchenko was in fact captured by Luhansk People’s Republic (LPR) separatists in eastern Ukraine and was illegally transported to Russia, where the case was fabricated against her.
On March 2nd, the prosecutor’s office requested that she be sentenced to 23 years in a penal colony plus a fine of 100,000 rubles ($1,400).
Savchenko declared a dry hunger strike on March 3rd after the Donetsk City Court in the Rostov region announced that she would not be given a chance to make her final closing statement during a court hearing.