KYIV -- Nadia Savchenko, a former military helicopter navigator who entered politics after returning home following two years in a Russian jail, says the Justice Ministry is ignoring her request to register her new political movement.
Savchenko spoke at a news conference on May 25, exactly a year after she was released in a prisoner exchange and days after telling Polish news outlet Krytyka Polityczna that she is "ready to take responsibility for the country and run for president" in 2019.
Savchenko had planned to present her new political force, the Sociopolitical Platform of Nadia Savchenko. But she said that "the Justice Ministry...without providing any comments or explanations, without answering any appeals, requests, phone calls, has not registered the party."
The Justice Ministry did not immediately respond to Savchenko’s claim.
Lack of registration would prevent Savchenko's political movement from participating in future elections and hurt her chances in a presidential campaign.
Ukraine is slated to hold its next presidential and parliamentary elections in 2019. A recent poll by the Kyiv-based Razumkov Center indicated she would receive just 1 to 2 percent of the vote if the election were held this month.
Savchenko says she was abducted by Russia-backed separatists in June 2014 and taken illegally into Russia, where she was jailed and tried on a murder charge over the deaths of two Russian journalists who were killed in the conflict between the separatists and Kyiv’s forces.
Savchenko was convicted last year and sentenced to 22 years in prison but was released in a swap for two Russians held by Kyiv. She was widely hailed as a hero upon her return to Ukraine but has faced criticism from nationalists and others in Ukraine.
Savchenko was elected to parliament on the ticket of former Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko’s party in 2014 but quit the faction in December 2016 after its leadership criticized her for making a secret visit to separatist-controlled territory in the east. She now holds her seat as an independent.