This past Sunday, March 8, The World Federation of Ukrainian Women Organizations called upon women around the world to unite in support of Nadiya Savchenko on International Women’s Day by joining Nadiya Savchenko in her hunger strike for one day.
Nadiya Savchenko, a Ukrainian military pilot and former officer of the Ukrainian army, serving in a Ukrainian volunteer battalion in eastern Ukraine, was captured by Russian terrorists and illegally transferred to Russia in June 2014. She is being held in prison in Moscow where she awaits a trial date in May 2015 on charges that she provided the coordinates of two Russian journalists who were killed in a mortar attack in the Luhansk region. Savchenko denies the charges and cell phone records confirm that she was in the custody of Russian forces when the journalists were killed.
Since December 13, 2014, Nadia had been on a hunger strike protesting her illegal detention, until recently. She has lost 17 kilograms (37 pounds) or 26% of her body weight. Her situation is critical. The UN Commissioner for Human Rights and governments across the world have called for Savchenko’s immediate release.
On March 8, women from all over the world participated in a hunger strike in support and solidarity of Nadiya. At the event, which took place in Toronto, hosted by Ukrainian Canadian Congress, participants were requested to bring the cost of food they would have eaten that day to donate to Patriot Defence in support of the Ukrainian Army. The event, which took place in UNF Hall, featured keynote speaker Chrystia Freeland who gave a heartfelt speech.
The event was successful in raising over $5,000 which will be donated to Patriot Defence, an organization that provides Ukrainian military with Improved First Aid Kits (IFAKs) and adapted Combat Lifesaver training. For those who was not able to personally attend the Event, but still would like to support the cause, donations can be made at: http://patriotdefence.org/en/donate.html (there is a Pay Pal account set up) or by sending a cheque to UWC, Beneficiary Patriot Defence.