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Helsinki Commission Leaders Welcome Savchenko Release; Urge Russia To Comply With Minsk Agreements

WASHINGTON – Following today’s release of Ukrainian fighter pilot Nadiya Savchenko from prison in Russia, Representative Chris Smith (NJ-04), Chairman of the Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe, and Senator Roger Wicker (MS), Co-Chairman of the Commission, issued the following statement:

“We welcome Nadiya’s long-overdue release, but we must not forget about other Ukrainian citizens unjustly imprisoned in Russia. We must also remember that Russia still occupies Crimea and continues its aggression in eastern Ukraine, bringing misery and suffering to millions of Ukrainians.”

“Russia should honor the Minsk agreements – which it violates with impunity – if there is to be peaceful resolution to the conflict. Above all, Russia needs to get out of Ukraine.”

Last September, the House passed a resolution calling for Savchenko’s release, which was strengthened by Chairman Smith’s amendment calling for the imposition of personal sanctions against individuals responsible for the imprisonment of Savchenko and other Ukrainian citizens illegally incarcerated in Russia.

A resolution sponsored by Co-Chairman Wicker and Helsinki Commission Ranking Senate Commissioner Ben Cardin (MD) calling for her release passed the Senate in February 2015.

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