Friday, March 18, 2016

Floor statement by Senator John McCain on Ukrainian pilot Nadiya Savchenko

March 18, 2016 U.S. Senator John McCain (R-AZ), Chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, delivered the following remarks on the Senate floor regarding Nadiya Savchenko, the Ukrainian pilot who was smuggled across the border to Russia where she faces false charges and illegal imprisonment:

“Mr. President: It has been nearly two years since Nadiya Savchenko, the first female military pilot in post-Soviet Ukraine and an Iraq War veteran, was abducted from Ukrainian territory by pro-Russian separatists and smuggled across the border to Russia where she faces false charges and illegal imprisonment. She is accused by Russia of having directed artillery fire that killed two Russian state-television journalists in eastern Ukraine in June 2014, and then illegally crossing into Russian territory without proper paperwork. This is despite clear evidence provided by her lawyers that she was captured by separatists before this incident occurred, and then hauled across the border in handcuffs with a sack over her head. Following her capture, Nadiya has reportedly endured interrogations, solitary confinement, and was subjected to a psychiatric evaluation at the infamous Russian Serbsky Institute, where Soviet authorities were once known to torture political dissidents. Further media reports suggest that she is gravely ill and near death.
                                                        Ukrainian pilot Nadiya Savchenko
 There are international laws that govern the treatment of prisoners of war. But Russia continues to deny that it is fighting a war in Ukraine, and is therefore treating Nadiya as a common criminal. While there are also international laws that govern the treatment of common criminals, Russia has shown as much regard for those laws as Ukraine’s sovereignty or the rights of Russians like Boris Nemtsov. From her prison cell in Russia, Nadiya said, ‘If I am found guilty, I will not appeal. I want the entire democratic world to understand that Russia is a Third World country with a totalitarian regime and a petty tyrant for a dictator and it spits on international law and human rights.
And in her last appearance in court, Ms. Savchenko said, ‘The trial proves the guilt of Russian authorities; they are to blame for seizing Ukrainian lands, capturing Crimea and starting a war in the Donbas region. They are to blame for trying to establish – through their foul undeclared wars all over the world – a totalitarian regime dominated by Russia.

She ended her court appearance by saying, ‘Russia will return me to Ukraine yet. Whether I am dead or alive. It will return me.
The full video of U.S. Senator John McCain’s speech is available at: