13:41 Jul. 23, 2016
Savchenko sparks outcry calling for reconciliation with separatists
Nadiya Savchenko, the Ukrainian military officer who became a national hero after spending nearly two years in a Russian prison, called for reconciliation to end the conflict in eastern Ukraine, sparking outrage among some lawmakers, RFE/RL reports.
Savchenko, who was elected to parliament while in prison, said in an interview broadcast July 21 on Ukraine's Channel Five that Ukrainians must "ask for forgiveness." Otherwise, she said, the violence that has gripped the country's Donbas region since April 2014 would continue.
Her comments infuriated nationalist lawmakers and others, including Anton Herashchenko who also serves as an aide to the Interior Ministry.
"You, Nadiya, are able to ask for forgiveness of...Russians who came to our lands to kill and rape, but we will never ask forgiveness of the occupiers and terrorists," he wrote on his Facebook page. "We will, through clenched teeth, hold on and achieve the liberation of our lands by any means!"
"Why did no one notice, that no live streaming was permitted from the trials of Sentsov or Kolchenko? And why, at the same time, Russian judge allowed to do live broadcasts from Savchenko's trial for all channels that wanted it?" Herashchenko went on to say.
"Russian TV channels and sites fell over backward in order not to hide the shameful and unfair trial of Savchenko. Why did the Russian media and court purposefully promoted Savchenko? Strange, is not it?
Now it seems clear - Putin enrooted a "Trojan horse" into the minds of Ukrainians."
Savchenko, who worked with a Ukrainian military air unit, was captured in June 2014, and put on trial in Russia, charged with the killing of two Russian reporters covering the war.
Freed in May as part of a prisoner swap, she returned to a hero's welcome, and has spoken out regularly, calling for direct peace talks with Russia-backed separatists in the east.