Around 30 men and women gathered on Poshtova Square in Kyiv on May 11 to celebrate the birthday of Nadiya Savchenko, a Ukrainian pilot who was kidnapped from Ukraine and subjected to a sham trial in Russia.
Despite the rain, the activists launched Chinese lanterns as a symbol of hope that Savchenko will be freed from detention in Russia. People wrote birthday postcards which will be delivered to Savchenko in Russia.
Savchenko was sentenced to 22 years in prison on March 22 at the end of a trial in a Russian court that has been branded a farce by international leaders and human rights organizations.
Savchenko was captured by members of a Russian-backed armed gang in the Donbas in June 2014, and after disappearing for some time, Russia authorities announced she was in custody in the Russian city of Voronezh.
Russian prosecutors subsequently charged Savchenko with illegally crossing the Ukrainian-Russian border, and complicity in the death of two Russian journalists.
Savchenko denied the charges, and her defense lawyers provided evidence that the journalists were killed in a mortar attack that occurred an hour after Savchenko was captured.
The Russian court, however, refused to accept that evidence.