Activists gather throughout Ukraine to call on Russia to free Nadiya Savchenko

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KRASNOARMIYESK, Ukraine -- On May 11, a global #FreeSavchenko rally was held in many cities in Ukraine and elsewhere. About 30 Ukrainian activists came to Shibankova Square in Donetsk Oblast's Krasnoarmiyesk, controlled by the Ukrainian government, and about 50 kilometers northwest of Russian-controlled Donetsk.

The rallies coincided with Ukrainian Air Force officer Nadiya Savchenko’s 34th birthday and 329th day of imprisonment.

Protesters called on Russia to free Savchenko, imprisoned since June on bogus allegations that she was involved in the murders of civilians, including two Russian journalists, in Russia’s war in Ukraine. Savchenko was captured at the war front by Russian-backed separatists and sent to Russia.

Demonstrators held Ukrainian flags, photographs of Savchenko and posters. People spoke of the woman who has become a symbol of Ukrainian bravery and determination in the face of Russia’s year-long war.

After that, people sang the Ukrainian national anthem and marched to the monument of Kirill Moskalenko, a hero and marshal of the Soviet Union, to commemorate him as part of the 70th anniversary of Victory Day marking the defeat of Adolf Hitler’s Nazi Germany.

Savchenko has begun writing diaries in prison. They will be translated from Ukrainian and published by the Kyiv Post. The first installment is here.

Editor’s Note: This content has been produced with support from the project, financially supported by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Denmark, and implemented by a joint venture between NIRAS and BBC Media Action. The content in this article is editorially independent of the donors.

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