A Ukrainian pilot detained in Russia since 2014 has made a triumphant return home following a prisoner swap that saw her traded for two Russians.

Nadiya Savchenko was met by Ukraine’s president at Kiev’s Borispol airport, where she made a passionate speech sarcastically thanking those “who had wished me evil”. “Through you I survived,” she said.

Savchenko, who was exchanged for two Russian intelligence operatives held by Ukraine, thanked her supporters, and promised to fight for the release of other Ukrainians in Russian jails.

In Kiev, she appeared with the president, Petro Poroshenko. “Just as we brought back Nadiya, so we will bring back the Donbas [region in eastern Ukraine] and bring back Crimea,” Poroshenko said. He vowed to secure the release of all Ukrainians held in Russia and what he called “occupied territories”.

Savchenko paid tribute to “all those who had died for our Ukraine”. Flanked by her mother and sister and holding a Ukrainian flag, she posed for a photo.

Еще фото pic.twitter.com/JV4XHHnpO4 — Новости Донбасса (@novostidnua) May 25, 2016

A Russian court in March sentenced her to 22 years in jail. While in Russian jail, she was elected a member of the Ukrainian parliament and is widely regarded in Ukraine as a symbol of resistance against Russia.

Feygin tweeted on Wednesday that Savchenko was innocent of any crime, saying she had nothing to do with the deaths of the two journalists, Igor Kornelyuk and Anton Voloshin, who were working for state TV. Putin said he had pardoned Savchenko following a request from the journalists’ families.

She gave a speech upon her return, as a firebrand nation hero of Ukraine.

Hero Returned to Ukraine! Powerful Speech Savchenko:


While Russia, of course – kept up with their status quo of backwater bullshit.

Valentina Matviyenko, the speaker of the upper house of Russian Parliament, insisted that Savchenko not been exchanged but transferred to Ukraine under existing prisoner transfer agreements,

History would find Savchenko guilty.

It’s very sad for a country where they make national heroes out of representatives of radical nationalist organizations, people with blood on their hands, accomplices to fascists,

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Matviyenko said. As for Savchenko, there’s no reason to make her a national hero because it’s been proved by a Russian court that she was guilty in the deaths of Russian journalists, among other things.

Ukrainian politicians were ecstatic. The MP Alyona Shkrum wrote on Twitter that Savchenko’s mother was complaining that she had not had time to cook a pot of borscht for her daughter’s arrival.

Read More: The Guardian

Featured Image – Twitter