Michael MacKay, Radio Lemberg, 23.03.2018
Nadiya Savchenko has been arrested and charged. On March 22, the Ukrainian member of parliament was formally accused of having committed serious crimes: collusion to carry out a coup against the Ukrainian government; organizing a coup; planning to assassinate public officials; organizing a terrorist attack against the Verkhovna Rada; facilitating a terrorist act; and illegal weapon handling. This is a remarkable come-down for Nadiya Savchenko: in less than two years she has gone from national heroine of Ukraine to a suspected traitor. The Savchenko who in May 2016 said to Putin: “Get the **** out of Ukraine!” has become the Savchenko who in March 2018 said about her fellow members of parliament: “I propose a coup. That's because they have to be removed physically - all at once.”
A terror plot against the parliament of Ukraine, including an assassination plot against the President of Ukraine, Petro Poroshenko, is at the heart of the charges against Nadiya Savchenko. The Security Service of Ukraine (SBU) has been tracking a plot involving Volodymyr Ruban for months. Ruban was arrested on March 8 at the Maiorsk checkpoint between Russia-invaded and occupied Donetsk region and free Ukraine. The SBU showed photos and video of a large cache of weapons that Ruban was transporting, hidden in furniture. The SBU has now revealed that they had four informants among the group of coup plotters, which is how the Ukrainian authorities knew about the weapons shipment, knew about the terror plot, and knew about Nadiya Savchenko’s involvement.
On March 22, the Verkovhna Rada, Ukraine’s parliament, voted to lift Nadiya Savchenko’s immunity from prosecution which she enjoyed along with every other deputy. Even though it is completely contrary to the rule of law and principles of justice, and even though it has been four years since the Revolution of Dignity, Ukraine still has not eliminated the immunity from prosecution protection of members of the Verknovna Rada. The members of parliament eased the way for Nadiya Savchenko’s arrest after viewing surveillance video taken by the SBU. The video showed Nadiya Savchenko speaking with Volodymry Ruban. This is where Savchenko spoke about killing her colleagues in the Verknovna Rada in a mass-casualty terrorist attack.
The details of the alleged Ruban-Savchenko terror plot are in a plea made to the Verkhovna Rada to have Savchenko’s immunity lifted and have her arrested. The plea states that no later than 20 November 2017 Nadiya Savchenko was colluding with Ruban (head of the “Officer’s Corps” organization and a former facilitator of prisoner exchanges) as well as Oleksandr Zakharchenko (figurehead of the Russian Federal Security Services front and terrorist organization, “Donetsk People’s Republic) and Aleksandr Timofeev (also a terrorist leader in the “DPR”) and others to overthrow Ukraine’s constitutional order, assassinate the president, and seize power in Kyiv.
The charges against Savchenko are based mostly on the testimony of four witnesses to the terrorist plot, who have been co-operating with the SBU since Ruban developed the plot (bankrolled by persons yet unknown) in 2017. There is also audio and video surveillance of Ruban and Savchenko, some of which was shown to the Verkhovna Rada. For her part, Nadiya Savchenko did not deny the video evidence. She claimed that she had been aware of the actions by the law enforcement agencies and had been simply playing along. She claimed that bringing weapons into the Verknovna Rada was her “political protest.”
The SBU says that Nadiya Savchenko “turned” at least by November 2017, but it has been clear to Ukrainians that her fall from grace occurred much earlier. By late 2016, Nadiya Savchenko had begun to say that Ukraine should “give up” Crimea. She began to visit Russia-invaded and occupied Donbas and to meet with leaders of Russian terrorist groups. She seemed to be doing this without any impediment from the Russian side. On 27 December 2016, the Russian invader-occupiers of Donbas released two so-called “hostages,” Anzhelika Presnyakova and Olga Svorak, to boost the image of Savchenko and Ruban as a negotiators for prisoner exchange. In fact, while Savchenko boasted that her contacts with the so-called “DPR” and “LPR” could free Ukrainians held as hostages, she never produced results beyond this token gesture. She put hostages and their families in grave danger by revealing their names – violating their right to privacy at the same time. Savchenko boasted that she was a champion of the servicemen and servicewomen of the Ukrainian armed forces (she had been one herself) but many of her former comrades came forward to say they despised Savchenko and that she was a danger to them all.
When push came to shove, and Ukraine declared Russia to be an aggressor, Nadiya Savchenko voted against the measure (the law called “On the peculiarities of the state policy to ensure the state sovereignty of Ukraine in the temporarily occupied territories in Donetsk and Luhansk regions). Since soon after her release from a Russian jail in May 2016, Nadiya Savchenko has completely stopped her criticism of Putin and of Russia. She also stopped criticizing the Russian-led terrorists who captured her in 2014 and sent her over the border to Russia to be Putin’s hostage – in fact, Savchenko began to deal with those terrorists as a peer. Nadiya Savchenko has expressed nothing but vitriolic opposition to the democratically-elected deputies and the democratically-elected president of Ukraine. Savchenko’s opposition has never been expressed as a desire to win an election to gain power. Instead, her opposition has always been expressed in terms of political violence.
Why did Putin release Savchenko in exchange for the two GRU agents in May 2016. Why didn’t he release Oleg Sentsov? With the arrest of Nadiya Savchenko and the shocking revelation of a violent plot against their government, Ukrainians now have their answer. Putin would only release someone who he was convinced would be no threat to him, and possibly even be a benefit to him. Savchenko turned, and she turned early – possibly while she was in jail in Russia. The evidence is strong that she is a traitor to Ukraine, and that is why she was released by Putin. Meanwhile, a Ukrainian patriot like filmmaker Oleg Senstov languishes in the hell of Putin’s gulag.
The terrorist plot that the SBU tracked and revealed had to be much bigger than two individuals, Volodymyr Ruban and Nadiya Savchenko. Ruban is widely believed to be an operative of Viktor Medvedchuk. Medvedchuk is a Ukrainian oligarch who is a “grey cardinal” of Vladimir Putin. At Putin’s insistence, Medvedchuk acts in the Tripartite Contact Group for the Minsk Agreements as the ‘representative’ of the terrorist groups “DPR” and “LPR.” The direct conspirators to blow up Ukraine’s parliament and assassinate President Poroshenko are Volodymyr Ruban and Nadiya Savchenko. The mastermind of the plot is Vladimir Putin, through Viktor Medvedchuk.
On photo: Nadiya Savchenko shaking hands with Nestor Shufrych, the closest ally of Medvedchuk, right after voting against her in the Verkhovna Rada and before arresting her by the SBU.