Ukraine’s Savchenko gets hero’s welcome after prisoner swap with Russia

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KIEV: Ukrainian pilot Nadiya Savchenko returned home to a hero’s welcome Wednesday after nearly two years in a Russian jail following a prisoner swap with Moscow that drew a line under a major diplomatic spat. The 35-year-old army helicopter pilot flew home as part of a carefully choreographed exchange with Moscow, with two alleged Russian soldiers leaving Ukraine earlier in the day. “I’m ready to once again give my life for Ukraine on the battlefield,” a defiant Savchenko declared after she touched down on home soil, barefoot and wearing a white T-shirt bearing the Ukrainian trident, a national symbol. Soon after the presidential plane brought the crop-haired Savchenko home, a presidential motorcade whisked her from Kiev’s main Boryspil airport to Poroshenko’s office, where he awarded her the Hero of Ukraine order, the country’s highest honor.

AFP

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