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Ukrainian pilot comes home after Moscow prisoner swap

Thursday, May 26, 2016 - 01:40

Ukrainian military pilot Nadiya Savchenko has arrived home to scenes of jubilation after her release by Russia in a prisoner swap. Nathan Frandino reports.

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Ukraine's symbol of resistance against Russia has returned home. Greeted by a swarm of media, air force pilot Nadiya Savchenko arrived in Kiev after being swapped for two Russian prisoners. Her first message was to the mothers of other military prisoners locked up in Russian jails. (SOUNDBITE) (Ukrainian) UKRAINIAN SERVICEWOMAN, NADIYA SAVCHENKO, SAYING: "I want to tell you that I will not be able to bring back to life the dead ones, but I am ready once again to sacrifice my life for Ukraine on a battle field and I will do everything possible in order for every child which is being held prisoner to be free." Savchenko's imprisonment began in 2014, when she was captured in eastern Ukraine by pro-Russian separatists who handed her over to Russia. She was sentenced for complicity in the deaths of two Russian journalists. But now she's free, exchanged for Alexander Alexandrov and Yevgeny Yerofeyev, two Russians who have admitted to being special forces on a secret mission in Ukraine where they were captured. Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko welcomed Savchenko at the presidential palace, saying her release was just the start. (SOUNDBITE) (Ukrainian) UKRAINIAN PRESIDENT, PETRO POROSHENKO, SAYING: "The same way we returned Nadiya (Savchenko) home, we will return Donbass, we will return Crimea to Ukrainian jurisdiction." As part of the exchange, both Poroshenko and Russian President Vladimir Putin pardoned each of the prisoners... a gesture perhaps, but a long way from reconciliation between the two countries after relations fell apart in 2014.

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Ukrainian pilot comes home after Moscow prisoner swap

Thursday, May 26, 2016 - 01:40