Nadiya Savchenko freed as part of prisoner exchange

Russia has released Ukrainian pilot Nadiya Savchenko. She arrived in Kiev from Rostov-on-Don aboard Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko’s airplane, Rosbalt reported.

“I am free,” Savchenko told a crowd in Kiev when she arrived at the airport.

"The presidential plane with Hero of Ukraine Nadiya Savchenko has landed!" Poroshenko wrote on Twitter.

Two Russians who were held in Ukraine, Yevgeny Yerofeyev and Alexander Alexandrov, were exchanged for Savchenko, and were earlier flown from Kiev to Moscow.

In March a Russian court found Savchenko guilty of complicity in the killing of two Russian journalists and sentenced her to 22 years in prison.

The judge in the Russian town of Donetsk said Savchenko had been driven by "political hatred".

"A propaganda machine is at work here, absent of justice and freedom," Savchenko’s lawyer wrote on Twitter.

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.

Savchenko was elected to the Ukrainian Verkhovna Rada in absentia in October of 2014 and became an official delegate of the PACE several months later.

  Ukraine, Savchenko, political prisoners