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Savchenko: ‘Ukraine is paying for Europe’s freedom’

Sanctions against Russia should be directed toward individuals, says Ukrainian fighter pilot and parliamentarian Nadiya Savchenko in a DW Interview during a visit to the Council of Europe in Strasbourg.

Deutsche Welle: Ms. Savchenko, this is your first trip to Western Europe. What are your initial impressions?

Nadiya Savchenko: I cannot remember what city it was, but at first I thought – no one lives here. When you look at the houses, one doesn’t see unorderly balconies. Everything is very clean. But what struck me about that particular city was all of the storks! At home in Ukraine we say that storks only build their nests on the homes of happy people. And when I saw that, I thought, what a happy city this must be if so many storks live here!

Here in Strasbourg you have advocated the extension of sanctions against Russia. Are they an effective tool?

Ukrainian pilot and parliamentarian Nadiya SavchenkoUkrainian pilot and parliamentarian Nadiya Savchenko

If Europe wants to stand for the principle of human rights it cannot be inactive. With sanctions there are two possibilities: One either lets weapons speak, or else one uses economics and politics as instruments.

I am not of the opinion that we should rush into a third World War. Ukraine is paying for the security of Europe, and for its own freedom, with the lives of its people.

Europe must speak to Russia in a civilized tone, both politically and economically. I also think that sanctions should be more specifically directed toward individuals. Those who are behind what is happening should get what they deserve. It would also be desirable if the economic sanctions were eventually lifted when certain criteria are met.

Back to Ukraine. There have been many changes in the overnment since the country became independent. Has leadership improved as a result?

Qualitatively, yes. It gets a little better each time. There really has been an improvement; perhaps not to the degree that one whould have hoped, but certainly much better than anything I have ever seen in Russia.

This interview was conducted by Zhanna Nemtsova

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