Ukranian pilot Nadiya Savchenko has been freed from jail as a result of a prisoner swap, in exchange for the freedom and return of two Russian soldiers to Moscow.
She was sent to jail for a term of 22 years on charges of killing two Russian journalists in eastern Ukraine, which she never acknowledged. As part of a prisoner swap by the two nations, she has now been freed by Russian authorities and has arrived at her home in Kiev. BBC reported that Russian President Vladimir Putin pardoned the pilot and granted her the permission to leave the nation for Ukraine.
“I am free,” Savchenko addressed a crowd of politicians and reporters as she reached Kiev.
Savchenko reached Boryspil International Airport terminal barefoot, wearing a T-shirt. She has become a national hero for Ukraine after the incident. The crowd cried “hero” and cherished her arrival after her imprisonment. Her sister and mother were also present in the crowd. “I can’t revive the dead, but I am always ready to lay down my life on the battlefield for Ukraine,” Savchenko said as she arrived. “And I will do everything possible for every person in captivity to be freed.”
Ukranian President Petro Poroshenko tweeted on Wednesday and confirmed the release of Savchenko. The pilot is now a symbol of resistance against Moscow and her release means a lot for the public that admired her. It is the Western government that demanded the pilot’s release. The move taken by Russian authorities will possibly reduce the level of tension that Moscow and the West have been sharing since the European Union is keeping the extension of sanctions against Russia’s decision on hold.
With the release of Nadiya Savchenko, Poroshenko has promised to get back the annexed peninsula of Crimea and rebel-held territories in the east from Russia. “Just as we brought back Nadiya, we will bring back Donbass and Crimea under Ukraine’s control,” the ABC quoted Poroshenko as saying. His statement came while he rewarded Savchenko with a Hero of Ukraine order. The Hero of Ukraine is the highest honour offered to nationals in Ukraine.
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peshkov confirmed that Yevgeny Yerofeyev and Alexander Alexandrov have returned to Russia on a special flight from Kiev that landed at Moscow’s Vnukovo airport.