Ukrainian hero recently freed from Russian prison tells Ukraine Today about her first day on the job
"I'm a Ukrainian MP. I'm back and I'm starting my work" – these were the first words Nadiya Savchenko uttered in the Ukrainian parliament.
As expected, her speech was brief and emotional and just several minutes into it, she started singing Ukraine's national anthem. The other MPs quickly joined her.
The recognised Ukrainian hero promised not to let the memory of the soldiers killed in Donbas fade away. Once Savchenko concluded her speech, she replaced the poster, which had her face and hashtag Free Savchenko on it with one calling for the release of all of Kremlin's political prisoners.
Following more than 700 days in Russian captivity Ukrainian pilot Nadiya Savchenko, who became an MP during the last parliamentary elections in Ukraine while still being in the Russian prison and is currently sitting right there, today has finally made her first appearance in the Ukrainian parliament. The first appearance as an MP, first appearance ever.
Indeed, apart from the brief tour around the parliament last Friday, Savchenko never set foot in this building before. Ukraine Today caught up with the newly-minted MP during the session break and got an exclusive comment about her first impressions of her first day in the parliament.
Nadiya Savchenko, Ukrainian MP: "I wish the parliament session was more orderly because right now it looks more like a chaos. (Reporter - you must have seen this on TV, you must have expected that this would be a chaos.) Yes, and I felt myself as if I were on TV. And I integrated quite well."
In response to my question about her feelings why her release took so long Nadiya Savchenko, Ukrainian MP said: To be frank, I'm not disappointed in anything – I'm free. I'm disappointed that many of our boys are still locked up. Let's not focus on the past, let's focus on what we have to do next.
Once Savchenko emerged from the session hall, she was immediately surrounded by an army of journalists eager to hear from her. We decided to talk to some of her fellow party members about their new colleague.
Serhiy Vlasenko, Ukrainian MP, Batkivschyna Fraction: "We should understand that that is her first day in the parliament – she never had any touch with the politics, 7.46 so that's a very new occupation for her and that is just the very first day in a very-very new occupation".
Olena Shkrum, Ukrainian Mp, Batkivschyna Fraction: "I actually think that she's very fast-learning. She's picking up information incredibly fast. She's integrating into the parliament and into the faction much better than I did two years ago."
When asked about Savchenko's bluntness, Shrkum believes, it might be a good thing for the Ukrainian parliament: "What we have in Ukraine – we have too many compromises, political agreements, political agreements under the table and there are some things, which you cannot compromise, actually think that being direct in this way, it's not a bad thing."
The deputy speaker of the parliament has her own view about the new addition to the parliament.
Oksana Syroyid, Parliament Deputy Speaker: "Now I can see from the place where I sit that she is very attentive and she is listening to everything and probably is learning like all we did when we came here for the first time."
The journalists couldn't get enough of Savchenko. They followed her everywhere she went. She finally decided to go outside for a smoke, where she was immediately surrounded by those rallying outside the parliament and more journalists. Looks like right now the entire country is watching closely her every step. Let's see if these steps will be the right ones.
This is Volodymyr Solohub and Henadiy Shulga reporting from Kyiv for Ukraine Today