The Federal Government Commissioner for Human Rights Policy and Humanitarian Aid, Christoph Strässer, issued the following statement today (15 October) in response to reports that Russia had barred Vira Savchenko from entering the country:
I am very concerned at reports of Vira Savchenko, the sister of Ukrainian pilot Nadiya Savchenko, being refused entry to Russia on 13 October. Vira Savchenko is an important witness for the defence in the trial currently under way against her sister in that country. Denying her entry to Russia would constitute a massive hindrance to the work of the defence team.
The German Government has already made several emphatic calls for Nadiya Savchenko to be released. The trial in which she stands accused contravenes the principles of due process. I again appeal to the Russian authorities to release Nadiya Savchenko with immediate effect.
Nadiya Savchenko is a Ukrainian army pilot and has been a member of the Ukrainian parliament since October 2014. She is currently standing trial in the Russian town of Donetsk, accused of being involved in the deaths of two Russian journalists and illegally crossing the border to Russia. Savchenko denies the charges, saying that she was captured by separatist forces in Ukraine in June 2014 and taken to Russia against her will. Her sister, Vira Savchenko, reports being refused entry to Russia at the Ukrainian-Russian border on 13 October 2015 and banned from entering the country for five years.