EU says Savchenko release 'long awaited good news'
The European Union's foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini hailed Russia's release of Ukrainian pilot Nadiya Savchenko on Wednesday, saying she was celebrating with Ukraine.
"Nadiya Savchenko is free and back in Ukraine. Long awaited good news, that the EU celebrates together with her country," former Italian foreign minister Mogherini said on Twitter.
Mogherini had repeatedly urged Russia to free Savchenko since the helicopter pilot's arrest in 2014, warning at one point that the Ukrainian was at risk of death because of a hunger strike.
Germany has also welcomed the swap of two Russian prisoners in exchange for Savchenko, who was jailed for alleged involvement in an attack that killed two Russian journalists on eastern Ukraine's frontline.
The detention of Savchenko was one of a series of issues concerning the conflict in Ukraine that have plunged EU-Russia relations to a new low, with European sanctions still in force against Russia.
The conflict in Ukraine broke out in 2014 after its former pro-Russian president was ousted following his rejection in 2013 of a controversial partnership deal with the 28-nation EU.
© 2016 AFP