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Ukraine’s Savchenko says wants to run for president in 2019

Ukraine will hold next presidential elections on March 31, 2019

KIEV, May 25. /TASS/. Nadezhda Savchenko, an unaffiliated member of Ukraine’s Verkhovna Rada (parliament), has announced her plans to run for Ukrainian president in 2019.

"I am ready to take responsibility for the country and run for president. My political force will take part in the parliamentary elections," she said in an interview with Poland’s Krytyka Polityczna. "I believe that this force will not become a political party in the classical sense. I have quitted one and I am not going to join any. I see no future in them, neither see I a capability to develop the right direction."

She said she is confident her political force will be able to change the existing political system and reshape the state structure. "This project will be supported by oligarchs and the mass media. But we will never by saying we take money from the, like other parties do. We must not tell lies," Savchenko said.

Ukraine will hold next presidential elections on March 31, 2019.

Addressing a news conference earlier in May, Ukrainian President Pyotr Poroshenko dodged answering a question about his plans for running for another presidential term. He said it was too early to speak about potential presidential candidates.

From hero of Ukraine to political pariah

Savchenko was elected MP in 2014 with Yulia Tymoshenko’s Batkivshchyna party. However, in late October 2016, she quitted the party. On December 15, 2016, the Batkivshchyna faction excluded Savchenko and a week later on December 22, the Rada excluded her from the Ukrainian delegation to the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) and after that, from the parliamentary Committee for National Security and Defense. Savchenko turned into an outcast after making several trips to the self-proclaimed Donetsk and Lugansk People’s Republics and holding talks with their leaders.

In December 2016, she presented a civil platform RUNA, or Rukh (movement) of the Ukrainian People, but RUNA severed its relations with Savchenko in early February 2017 "due to the differences in the vision of basic ideological and organizational fundamentals."

On April 13, 2017, Savchenko established a new political party, Nadezhda Savchenko’s Public and Political Platform.

In Russia, Savchenko was found guilty of murdering Russian journalists Igor Kornelyuk and Anton Voloshin in Donbass as well as of illegally crossing the Russian border. On March 22, 2016, the Donetsk City Court in Russia’s south Rostov region sentenced her to 22 years in a penal colony. However, on May 25, Russian President Vladimir Putin, upon a request from the departed journalists’ families, signed a decree pardoning Savchenko. After that, she was flown to Ukraine’s capital of Kiev.

Ukrainian President Pyotr Poroshenko awarded her with the Hero of Ukraine honorary title.