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This article was published 26/1/2015 (1855 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
Winnipeggers rallied Monday night to free a Ukrainian fighter pilot and 30 other Ukrainian soldiers being held as prisoners of war in Russia.
The Ukrainian Canadian Congress (UCC) organized the demonstration in support of Nadiya Savchenko and the others in front of the Manitoba legislature.
The 34-year-old Ukrainian woman was captured in eastern Ukraine on June 18 by Russian-backed rebels and transferred across the border to the Russian Federation, said Denys Volkov, one of the Winnipeg organizers of the rally held in Toronto and other major cities around the world Monday.
"She’s a one-of-a-kind person," Volkov said of the fighter pilot, Savchenko, who volunteered with the other POWs to fight the rebels in eastern Ukraine.
The Manitoba council of the UCC is calling on the federal government to push for their release.
"I count on Manitobans to contact their members of Parliament who must work across party lines and with the federal government on assistance in the release of all Ukrainian POWs," Oksana Bondarchuk, president of the UCC Manitoba council, said in a press release.
"Russia is violating not only (the) territorial integrity of Ukraine, but also basic human rights of Ukrainian citizens who it illegally detains," she said. "As Canadians we stand up for human rights at home and abroad."
It was the second time in less than a week that Winnipeggers rallied to draw attention to the conflict in eastern Ukraine that has killed an estimated 5,100 people since April.
On Saturday, more than 30 people were killed in rocket attacks on homes, shops, a market and schools in the southeastern coastal city of Mariupol. Russian-backed rebels have been blamed for the bombing blitz. Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko called it an act of terrorism. NATO and the U.S. demanded Russia stop supporting the rebels.
It’s distressing to see civilians being targeted, said Volkov.
"There were no Ukrainian troops stationed nearby," he said. "It was a clear attack on civilians."
Carol Sanders’ reporting on newcomers to Canada has made international headlines, earned national recognition but most importantly it’s shared the local stories of the growing diversity of people calling Manitoba home.
Updated on Monday, January 26, 2015 at 8:02 PM CST: Write-thru