Manitoba Ukrainian community rallies for release of prisoner

Members of Manitoba's Ukrainian community rallied at the Legislative Building Monday night challenging the Russian government to release a detained Ukrainian woman.
Dozens from the local Ukrainian community gathered at the Manitoba Legislature Monday night at a rally to press the Russian government to release Nadiya Savchenko, an imprisoned Ukrainian army pilot captured by pro-Russian forces in Eastern Ukraine last year.

Members of Manitoba's Ukrainian community rallied at the Legislative Building Monday night challenging the Russian government to release a detained Ukrainian woman.

Thirty-four-year-old NadiyaSavchenko was captured in Eastern Ukraine by pro-Russian forces last year.

Savchenko, Ukraine's first female army pilot, is one of 31 prisoners of war being illegally held in Russia currently.

Dozens in Winnipeg rallied Monday in solidarity with Savchenko, as did many others at similar demonstrations across the world.

"It's a worldwide call to action. Europe, all across Canada, North America, Australia, [all] are protesting, bringing awareness to her situation," said Oksana Bondarchuk, president of Ukrainian Canadian Congress–Manitoba Provincial Council.

Savchenko stands accused of being involved in the deaths of two Russian journalists. She has disputed the claims and has been on a hunger strike since Dec. 13, 2014.

The Winnipeggers present at the rally said they wanted to see Savchenko's release and the end of Russia's occupation of Ukraine.

"I hope that Putin comes to the realization that Ukraine is a sovereign country, that deserves independence, deserves to rule itself," said Bondarchuk. 

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