10 February, the Basmanny District Court, Moscow (Russia) extended the detention of Ukrainian Nadiya Savchenko till 13 May. Yesterday it was Nadiya’s 60th day of hunger strike, but unbreakable Ukrainian heroine showed her spirit was very strong.
Ukrainian name ‘Nadiya’ means ‘hope’ in English. And when one looks at this now bony and fragile, but beautiful and still smiling and strong Ukrainian pilot – political prisoner and prisoner of Russian-Ukrainian war – one can’t help but feel hope for Ukraine’s victory.
10 February, the day of court hearings, was 60th day of Nadiya hunger strike. But she proved once more she was a woman of spirit.
Nadiya enters the room saying “Glory to Ukraine!” Her backup group (MPs and activists) replies “To heroes glory!” And this is Nadiya, whom they meant first of all this day.
BBC Russian Service correspondent Rafael Saakov spots a woman with two roses – yellow and blue. Her name is Yekaterina, she is Russian, lives in Moscow. She has never been to court before. But this time she came to support Nadiya.
Nadiya’s sense of humour hasn’t faded and she’s self-confident, her dialogue with the judge is remarkable: ‘Where do you live?’ – ‘In a cage’. – ‘Do you have previous convictions?’ – ‘Thanks God, this is my first visit to Moscow’.
Nadiya’s mother Mariya and sister Vira are also present at the hearings. Police officers attitude to them is rude. They make Vira delete pictures of Nadiya she took and don’t allow her to speak to her sister. When Nadiya’s mother was leaving the room to go to the airport, police officers applied force to make her go faster. ‘Good bye, mom, see you in Ukraine’, Nadiya says to her mother.
While her advocate Mark Feygin is speaking, Nadiya is drawing a symbolic picture of Ukrainian girl. ‘Hold on Ukraine! Glory to Ukraine! To heroes Glory! I was born Ukrainian, Ukrainian I’ll die’ – she wrote on the drawing.
Nadiya speaks Ukrainian in the court. But she addresses Russians to thank them for their support in Russian. Her speech is powerful:
‘For the half a year I’ve learnt Russian, although I’ve never used it before. I don’t have national hatred to Russians, which the investigation blames me for. I didn’t kill Russian journalists, all the more basing on national motives and national hatred. Moreover, they were born in Ukraine. I’ve learnt I have a lot of friends in Russia. This is my first time in Russia and I’m in prison right away. Previously, I had rare interactions with Russians. And I receive letters from you. I understand, you are able to thinks, you really have your own opinion, you have explicit imagination, you understand and feel what is right and what is wrong. You don’t think, we are your enemies, and I don’t think you’re our enemies. I’ll never say Russians are bad. I don’t speak now about such deceitful and corrupt people as investigators and court representatives. But please understand, there is no bad nation, there’re bad persons. I won’t say that these people [investigators, court and police officers] whom I despise and disrespect and will never respect are good. But I do respect, love and appreciate lots of Russian people. Thank you for your support’.
Although Nadiya Savchenko is accused on false basis, although she has become PACE member and one of her advocates Ilya Novikov says she might die before the next court session, because she’s on hunger strike, the court decides to extend her the detention till 13 May.
Before leaving the room Nadiya makes one more statement:
‘I want to make a statement. I won’t go away, because I believe that the convoy threatens my life. They’ve many times showed abasement of my national and human dignity, jeered Ukrainian language and were lout. The convoy and police officers have also applied force towards my mother which is 77 years old, brutal force. And I also want to add, we are friends with those Russians who won’t take arms and won’t come to my homeland to kill my people. Thank you.’
Then she says that nobody has given her water, also the court session lasted almost 7 hours.
After the convoy is changed, Nadiya leaves the room.
The full statement of Nadiya Savchenko with English subtitles:
Aleksandra Demskaya, EMPR