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European Parliament may demand release of Savchenko, says president

On March 22, Ukrainian MP Nadezhda Savchenko was detained in Kiev

BRUSSELS, March 22. /TASS/. The European Parliament may once again demand the release of Nadezhda Savchenko, this time from Ukrainian jail, its President Antonio Tajani said in reply to a TASS query at a news conference in Brussels on Thursday.

"The European parliament has always advocated the right to the freedom of expression. We intend to look into the facts and demand her release, if needed," Tajani said.

Earlier on Thursday, MP Savchenko was detained in Kiev after Ukrainian MPs had voted for prosecuting and putting her in police custody. Savchenko is suspected of "colluding to change the constitutional system by force, plotting an attempt on the life of the Ukrainian president, conspiring to carry out a terror attack, assisting the activities of the terrorist organization, the Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR), carrying, acquiring and transferring firearms."

The former pilot Savchenko had been sentenced in Russia to 22 years in jail over complicity in the killing of two Russian journalists in eastern Ukraine. She spent nearly two years in Russian custody and was pardoned by the Russian president on May 25, 2016.

Savchenko was a member of former Ukrainian Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko’s All-Ukrainian Union "Fatherland" or Batkivshchyna party and was elected to the parliament on its party list in 2014 while in Russian custody. However, in late October 2016, she wrote a statement on leaving the party and was excluded from it in mid-December.

The lawmaker was also expelled from Ukraine’s delegation to the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) and later from the Parliamentary Committee for National Defense and Security.

Savchenko fell into disfavor of Ukraine’s authorities after her private trips to the self-proclaimed Donetsk and Lugansk People’s Republics in eastern Ukraine and talks with their leadership.