11:17 Mar. 3, 2016
"They will sentence me posthumously" - Nadiya Savchenko
23 years of imprisonment and nearly one thousand U.S. dollars in fines. It is the punishment the Russian prosecutors are seeking for Ukrainian pilot Nadiya Savchenko.
The final stage of the trial - the debates - started on Wednesday, March 2, in the Russian city of Donetsk in the Rostov region.
Ukrainian pilot's powerful speech in Russian court: Full text
I'll speak in Russian to save on a translator, a translator which, as I quite well understand, would be at my own expense. That said, according to human rights law, an interpreter ought to be provided free of charge.
Well, firstly, I want to apologize to the audience for my emotional behaviour. The fact is, it's very difficult to listen to the same lies over and over again for six months and then hear them repeated all day long. Therefore, I couldn't help reacting to the prosecutor's speech like I did.
Now, regarding the debate. During this long and tedious six-month trial we learned that guilt was proven in the course of the judicial process. That guilt is of the Russian journalists [Savchenko is accused of involvement in the deaths of two Russian journalists]. They are guilty of lying and of providing false, distorted information regarding events in Ukraine, the world, and in Russia. They are to blame for neglecting their own security. If they had worn body armour, they would have survived. If they had not hung around where they shouldn't have, they would have stayed alive.
Russian TV channels were also found guilty. Channels, their owners and their editors are guilty for sending their people - unprepared, unprotected - to their certain death, just for the sake of spreading pretty pictures and false information. They wanted to boost their ratings and made a quick buck. But they absolutely do not care about their journalists. They are the ones who are above all responsible for the deaths of Korneliuk and Voloshin [the two Russian journalists whose deaths Savchenko is accused of involvement in].
We watched here a video of Russia's Channel 5, in which a reporter said Ukrainian media were lying and Korneliuk and Voloshiin fact were wearing helmets and body armour. But even in this very courtroom it has been proven they had neither helmets nor body armour. We can arrive at that conclusion that Russian TV channels are telling lies.
The guilt of Russian-backed separatist forces and Russian regular military troops has also been proven. They are guilty of killing Ukrainian people on our Ukrainian land. They are to blame for occupying Ukrainian lands. Let the Donbas' so-called 'peace-loving residents', victims and separatists scream as loud as they can that it was only they who were are being killed by Ukraine's armed forces. Even the video provided by Yegor Rossiysky [a Russian journalist] proved the opposite and showed separatists beating and killing Ukrainian prisoners of war.
This court also proved the FSB (Security Service) and Russia's Investigative Committee guilty. They are to blame for kidnapping people. They are guilty of torturing people. The group of [Ukrainian prisoners being held in Russia] Sentsov, Karpyuk and Klykh were tortured. These services and committees are to blame for trying, bad-mouthing and accusing those they kidnap and torture. These services and committees forge expert findings, and this was proved.
My fabricated 'case' - 40 volumes of gibberish - testifies to this. During the trial, the prosecutor and Russian judges were also found guilty. During two years of my imprisonment and my tribulations here, I found out that those people had neither honour nor conscience, nor do they abide by laws. They absolutely do not care about international laws or human rights, they are instructed by the Kremlin, and they are committed to fulfilling this 'state order'.
The trial proves the guilt of Russian authorities; they are to blame for seizing Ukrainian lands, capturing Crimea and starting a war in the Donbas region. They are to blame for trying to establish - through their foul undeclared wars all over the world - a totalitarian regime dominated by Russia.
They creep everywhere and kill people through genocide. We could observe the same practice in Chechnya, and Abkhazia. Now we are observing this in Ukraine, Dagestan, Syria. Everywhere, the Russian state's policies and interests are above people's lives, especially the lives of indigenous populations coming from the lands, which correspond to Russia's national interests. And so the Russian authorities are guilty.
I am the only person the court failed to find guilty. I am an officer of the Ukrainian Armed Forces. I had every right to defend my land, I was fulfilling my duty. You do not judge veterans of World War II, and for the same reason you do not judge your own troops - but they also killed many people while defending their country.
You have no right to judge me. Considering my high self-assessment and examination results, the prosecutor's office nonetheless dared to make such a statement here. That's why I want to say - the more I meet these effeminate men, like prosecutors here, the higher grows my self-esteem as that of a woman, of a soldier and of a human being... Well, let's go back to the case.
I do not know how long this 'performance' will take, but I want to say: if, again, the verdict debate take three weeks (as prosecutors requested once), I will immediately resort to defence tools. If the court takes more than two weeks to issue a verdict (which has already been dictated from above and recorded), I will go on a 'dry' hunger strike from tomorrow, and they will sentence me posthumously, 'in absentia'.
I think it is pointless waiting for a POW exchange. If you want to find a political solution to this case and swap your two Russian Spetznaz [special forces] officers for one innocent person, it's too unjust. You should have swapped your Spetznaz guys for [Ukrainian political prisoners] Sentsov and Kolchenko. I'm not a bargaining chip, I am an innocent person, and my guilt has not been and cannot be proven. Therefore, I will stand no POW exchange, no bargaining deal, and no procrastination.
And here is the most crucial thing. Let prosecutors sentence me to as many years in prison, as they wish. Not a day longer, not a day shorter. All 23 years. Do not issue a longer or shorter jail sentence for me - so they won't make any further appeals or delay the procedure. You have proved that you are utterly impotent. You have already proved that Russia can disgrace itself, as exemplified in my case.
You have never defeated me and will never do it! Well, let's finish it all as soon as possible, I will not wait any longer. It was not you who have given me life, so you can't own it - and you can't decide upon my fate. If the verdict takes more than two weeks, I will not wait for it. That's all I want to say".
Watch also the video of Savchenko's speech (with English subtitles), 112.UA International Channel: