February 12, 2015 - Issue: Vol. 161, No. 24 — Daily Edition114th Congress (2015 - 2016) - 1st Session
CALLING FOR THE RELEASE OF UKRAINIAN FIGHTER PILOT NADIYA SAVCHENKO; Congressional Record Vol. 161, No. 24
(Senate - February 12, 2015)
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[Pages S1010-S1011] From the Congressional Record Online through the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov] CALLING FOR THE RELEASE OF UKRAINIAN FIGHTER PILOT NADIYA SAVCHENKO Mr. McCONNELL. Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent that the Foreign Relations Committee be discharged from further consideration of S. Res. 52 and the Senate proceed to its immediate consideration. The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered. The clerk will report the resolution by title. The assistant legislative clerk read as follows: A resolution (S. Res. 52) calling for the release of Ukrainian fighter pilot Nadiya Savchenko, who was captured by Russian forces in Eastern Ukraine and has been held illegally in a Russian prison since July 2014. There being no objection, the Senate proceeded to consider the resolution. Mr. CARDIN. Mr. President, I rise to discuss the plight of Ukrainian fighter pilot Nadiya Savchenko. My resolution, S. Res. 52., which Senators Wicker, Brown, Rubio, and Gardner have co-sponsored, calls for the release of former Ukrainian fighter pilot Nadiya Savchenko, who has been languishing in Russian prisons since she was abducted by pro- Russian forces in eastern Ukraine last July and illegally transferred across the border in handcuffs and with a bag over her head. In the 8 months Nadiya has been incarcerated on specious and unsubstantiated charges, she has endured interrogations, involuntary psychiatric evaluations, and solitary confinement in the same pretrial detention center where Sergei Magnitsky was tortured and killed in 2009. The resolution is especially timely as Nadiya is in the 62nd day of a hunger strike. Her health is rapidly deteriorating. Her situation is critical. And yet, on Tuesday, a Moscow court extended her detention until May 13, ignoring clear evidence compiled by the defense proving her non-involvement in the deeds the Russian authorities claim as justification for holding her. Nadiya is yet another victim of the Putin regime's lawlessness, brutality, and contempt for human life. And we need to recognize that this isn't just about her; it's a highly visible manifestation of Putin's contempt for a Ukraine that wishes to remain free, independent, and democratic. She was elected in absentia to the Ukrainian parliament in October and a member of Ukraine's delegation to the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, PACE. As such, she enjoys diplomatic immunity and PACE has called for her immediate release. According to the September Minsk agreements between Russia and Ukraine, hostages on both sides were supposed to be released. Russia has made a mockery of the Minsk agreements, just as it has the Helsinki Final Act and numerous other Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, OSCE, agreements. The illegal detention of Nadiya and other Ukrainian citizens represents yet another violation of international agreements and the norms of civilized behavior. S. Res. 52 sends a strong message of solidarity to the Ukrainian people and calls on the Putin regime to release Nadiya immediately. I am pleased the Senate is poised to pass this important resolution. Mr. McCONNELL. Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent that the Cardin amendment to the resolution be agreed to; the resolution, as amended, be agreed to; the preamble be agreed to; and the motions to reconsider be considered made and laid upon the table with no intervening action or debate. The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered. The amendment (No. 251) in the nature of a substitute was agreed to, as follows: (Purpose: To provide a complete substitute) Strike all after the resolving clause and insert the following: ``That the Senate-- [[Page S1011]] (1) condemns the Government of the Russian Federation for its illegal imprisonment of Nadiya Savchenko; (2) calls on the Government of the Russian Federation to immediately release Nadiya Savchenko; (3) calls on the United States, its European allies, and the international community to aggressively support diplomatic efforts to release Nadiya Savchenko; and (4) expresses solidarity with the Ukrainian people. The resolution (S. Res. 52), as amended, was agreed to. The preamble was agreed to. The resolution, with its preamble, reads as follows: S. Res. 52 Whereas Nadiya Savchenko is the first-ever female fighter pilot in Ukraine's Armed Forces and is an Iraqi war veteran; Whereas in the ongoing conflict in Eastern Ukraine, Nadiya Savchenko volunteered her services to the Ukrainian Aidar battalion; Whereas Nadiya Savchenko was elected in absentia from the Batkivshchyna Party to Ukraine's Parliament in October 2014, and appointed to the Parliament Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) as a representative from Ukraine; Whereas as a member of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, Lieutenant Nadiya Savchenko was conducting operations in eastern Ukraine against pro-Russian forces in the summer of 2014 when she was captured and taken into captivity; Whereas during her mission in Eastern Ukraine, she was captured by the Donbas People's Militia, detained on Ukrainian territory, deprived of rights to due process, and illegally transferred to the Russian Federation to stand trial on unsubstantiated charges of terrorism; Whereas, since July 2014, Nadiya Savchenko has endured involuntary psychiatric evaluations and solitary confinement; Whereas Nadiya Savchenko is currently entering her sixth week of a hunger strike as a symbol of her protest; Whereas Nadiya Savchenko is denied access to urgently needed medical attention and access to legal counsel; Whereas the Minsk Protocol of September 2014, signed by Ukraine and the Russian Federation, calls for the ``immediate release of all hostages and illegally held persons''; Whereas appeals have been made to the United Nations Human Rights Council and the International Red Cross to secure Nadiya Savchenko's release; Whereas the international community, including representatives of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) and of the United States, have urged her immediate release; Whereas, on January 26, 2015, the opening day of the Parliamentary Assembly, the global community embarks on a public campaign to bring attention to the plight of Nadiya Savchenko and demand her immediate release; and Whereas the Government and people of the United States express concern about the deteriorating health of detained pilot Nadiya Savchenko and her continued illegal imprisonment: Now, therefore, be it Resolved, That the Senate-- (1) condemns the Government of the Russian Federation for its illegal imprisonment of Nadiya Savchenko; (2) calls on the Government of the Russian Federation to immediately release Nadiya Savchenko; (3) calls on the United States, its European allies, and the international community to aggressively support diplomatic efforts to release Nadiya Savchenko; and (4) expresses solidarity with the Ukrainian people. ____________________