Nadia Savchenko to obtain diplomatic immunity on January 26, Russia will have to let her go
The Russian authorities will have to release Batkivschyna faction MP, Ukrainian pilot Nadia Savchenko, as on January 26 she will be granted international diplomatic immunity as a member of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE), Batkivschyna party leader Yulia Tymoshenko has said.
"When on January 26, the authority of Ukrainian delegation to PACE is confirmed and Savchenko becomes a full PACE member on January 26, she will be granted an international diplomatic immunity," Tymoshenko said at a press conference in Kyiv on Wednesday.
The Batkivschyna leader noted that there was a basic agreement on privileges and immunities of the Council of Europe, Article 15 of which says that PACE representatives and their deputies are immune from being arrested and legally prosecuted in the territories of all member states. "This agreement has been ratified by the Russian Federation on February 23, 1996 and Russia has to observe this agreement," she noted.
Tymoshenko noted that on January 26 Batkivschyna's delegation would be near the Moscow prison in which Savchenko is kept. In addition, the faction's representatives together, with Savchenko's sister Vira, will attend the PACE session.
The Batkivschyna leader believes that if Russia once again ignores international law, only much stricter sanctions against Russia can influence the situation. "I sincerely hope that Ukraine will finally start implementing just as strong sanctions against Russia as well. For now, it's not happening unfortunately," she added.
In turn, Vira Savchenko noted that hunger strike is the only way for her sister to protest. Nadia Savchenko protests against not only her imprisonment but Russia's aggression against Ukraine as well. Vira Savchenko said that she had seen her sister recently and that Nadia had lost a lot of weight. "Her consistent weight has always been 75-78 kilos, right now her weight is 60 kilos," she said.
Vira Savchenko urged all politicians who represent Ukraine in the world to fight for the fate of Nadia Savchenko and other Ukrainian citizens who are currently held in Russian prisons.
It was reported earlier that Savchenko, a 33-year-old pilot, was fighting with the Aidar volunteer battalion in eastern Ukraine when she was captured by militants in June near the town of Schastia, a suburb of Luhansk. It was stated on July 8 that she was being held at the Voronezh pre-trial detention facility in Russia.
On July 9, Russia indicted her for complicity in murder. Savchenko has rejected all charges. Ukraine is demanding her release.
Savchenko went on a hunger strike on December 15, in response to the prison's failure to provide her with medical care. She has lost some hearing since being imprisoned.
Savchenko was number one on Batkivschyna party election list during the parliamentary elections on October 26, 2014. On November 19, the Central Election Commission registered her as an MP.
On December 25, the Verkhovna Rada adopted a parliamentary address to international organizations and inter-parliamentary assemblies regarding the release of Savchenko, which also noted that she was included in the Verkhovna Rada's delegation to the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe. Granting diplomatic status to Savchenko will mean that Russia can no longer detain her legally.