Ukrainian Pilot Released in Russia, Returning Home

Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko, left, looks at Ukrainian jailed pilot Nadezhda Savchenko during their meting in the Presidential Office in Kiev, Ukraine, Wednesday, May 25, 2016.

However, during a ceremony featuring Petro Poroshenko and Nadezhda Savchenko, who arrived in Kiev on Wednesday, the Ukrainian President said that he hoped to regain control over Crimea and Ukraine's rebellious southeast as well.

This comes after a Russian court in March found Savchenko guilty of murdering two Russian journalists in 2014 in Ukraine and sentenced her to 22 years in prison.

Vladimir Putin has spoken of the decision to pardon Nadiya Savchenko, during a meeting with relatives of the two Russian journalists whose deaths were partly blamed on the Ukrainian servicewoman.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said in televised statements that Putin had no plans to meet with Yerofeyev and Alexandrov, but that he had met with the parents of two journalists killed in the artillery strike that Savchenko was convicted of orchestrating.

Savchenko maintained throughout her trial and imprisonment that she had not entered the country illegally, but had rather been captured by the same pro-Russia rebel forces she had been fighting.

She says: "I want to thank everyone who fought for me, for everyone, for everyone who is in prison to be free. But I'm ready to go and fight for Ukraine today". The regime was using military intelligence groups to stir up trouble in Eastern Ukraine and coordinate rebel operations: The untrained, thuggish locals couldn't be trusted, and the starry-eyed nationalist volunteers arriving from Russian Federation were, if possible, even worse.

 "Having always been a political symbol, Savchenko will return to Ukraine as a major political actor in her own right", said Daragh McDowell, principal Russian Federation analyst at risk consultancy Verisk Maplecroft.

Transfer of Savchenko to Ukraine along with transfer of Aleksandrov and Yerofeyev to Russia took place in compliance with the European Convention on the Transfer of Sentenced Persons, according to Chair of the Federation Council Valentina Matviyenko. Shortly after, Poroshenko confirmed on his Twitter account that the plane carrying Savchenko had landed safely as did the presidential administration's official account.

Italian Foreign Minister Paolo Gentiloni praised Savchenko's pardon, saying that Italy "fully supports the work of [the] Normandy Four" which aims to achieve the full implementation of the Minsk agreements. On July 9, Russian officials announced intentions to try Savchenko for murder and crossing Russian borders. Her capture and trial became a rallying point for Ukrainians at home and overseas.

On 25 May, Savchenko was exchanged for Russian GRU officers Aleksandr Aleksandrov and Evheniy Yerofeyev.

The 35-year-old army helicopter pilot flew home as part of a carefully choreographed exchange with Moscow, with two alleged Russian soldiers leaving Ukraine earlier in the day.

"In Ukraine we will live as people are supposed to live".

"For the whole world and Ukraine, Nadiya embodies the might of Ukraine, strength, a resistance to occupying forces and the immorality which has unfortunately flooded politics", Tymoshenko said Wednesday.

Related News: