PR move or provocation? Savchenko visits Donbass “ATO,” sits in helicopter

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June 6, 2016 – 

PolitRussia – 

Translated by J. Arnoldski

The Verkhovna Rada PM from the “Fatherland” faction, Nadezhda Savchenko, who was sentenced in Russia for the murder of Russian journalists in Donbass and then pardoned by the Russian president, has visited the conflict zone in Donbass and sat in the cockpit of a military helicopter. This was reported by RIA Novosti with links to the press center of the military operation.

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“The night visit of the Heroine of Ukraine, Nadezhda Savchenko, to the ATO took everyone by surprise. The people’s deputy of Ukraine managed to talk with many soldiers and met with her former colleagues to sit in the cockpit of a military helicopter,” the press-center reports.

Nadezhda Savchenko was sentenced to 22 years in prison in Russia for the murder of All-Russian State Television and Radio Company journalists in Donbass. She directed artillery fire towards the positions of Lugansk militiamen where the Russian journalists were located. Two of them were killed. On May 25th, Russian President Vladimir Putin signed a decree on her pardon. 

Note from J. Arnoldski: Savchenko’s “nighttime” visit to the “ATO” comes on the heels of her confrontation with her party’s leader, Yuliya Tymoshenko, and conflicting statements on her position on the Minsk Agreements. At the same time, much talk has filled Ukrainian media of Savchenko possibly entrenching herself for a long political career, something which some analysts have suggested is precisely the disaster which Russia wanted as a result of her exchange. This visit to the ATO should be interpreted as a move by Savchenko directed at her fellow colleagues in the Verkhovna Rada whose precise political implications will become known soon enough. As for now, one can rest assured that Tymoshenko is seething, Poroshenko is snickering, while the Ukrainian “radicals” are debating how they can use this new PR hero for their own plans. Either way, Savchenko’s role is still ambiguous and unclear, so this should not be interpreted as any kind of signal from the Kiev regime as to its near-term intentions in Donbass. Savchenko still has a long way to go before her symbolic role evolves into a weighty political one. She has yet to put shoes on and it has yet to be seen if and for who the boot will fit…

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