Nadia Savchenko says she will consider running for President of Ukraine after being released from Russian prison

Ukrainian military pilot Nadiya Savchenko is surrounded by media upon her arrival at Kyiv Boryspil Airport on May 25, 2016 in Boryspil, Ukraine. Photo / Getty
Ukrainian military pilot Nadiya Savchenko is surrounded by media upon her arrival at Kyiv Boryspil Airport on May 25, 2016 in Boryspil, Ukraine. Photo / Getty

He probably didn't know it at the time, but Russia President Vladimir Putin may have unleashed his own worst nightmare.

Former helicopter pilot Nadia Savchenko, 35, was released by Russia last week in a prisoner swap after serving two years of a 22-year sentence for the murder of two Russian journalists - a claim she has always denied.

On Tuesday, she was sworn in as a member of the Ukrainian parliament after saying she would consider running for President if the country wanted her to as Ukrainians become increasingly disillusioned with Petro Poroshenko.

The former member of the volunteer Aidar Batallian told MPs in Keiv she would fight for the release of other Ukrainians held in Russia in a passionate appearance that also involved singing the national anthem.

"You absolutely have to pull out every single prisoner," she said appearing in a white shirt with the cropped hair that has seen her nicknamed Ukraine's "Joan of Arc" and a "killing machine in a skirt" by Russian tabloid media.

Ukrainian pilot Nadiya Savchenko smokes a cigarette in front of the Ukrainian Parliament in Kiev. Photo / Getty
Ukrainian pilot Nadiya Savchenko smokes a cigarette in front of the Ukrainian Parliament in Kiev. Photo / Getty

It comes after her first official press conference on Friday where she said: "Let's put it this way: Ukrainians, if you need me to be the president, OK, I will be president."

"Honestly, I cannot say that I want this - I love to fly. But, if necessary, I will do everything and I will take this path and work hard.

"When I'm ready and able, and believe in this, and feel it, and people say it's necessary, then I'll run."

It's the latest twist in a dramatic story for the young Iraq war veteran who first made headlines in June 2014 when she was captured during a battle by Russian-backed separatists while serving in a voluntary militia.

It's the latest twist in a dramatic story for the young Iraq war veteran who first made headlines in June 2014 when she was captured during a battle by Russian-backed separatists while serving in a voluntary militia.

She was charged with murdering Russian state journalists, Anton Voloshin and Igor Kornelyuk, who were killed in the same battle and illegally crossing the border into Russia.

However she has consistently denied the charges and her lawyers claim it's impossible she is responsible because she was already captured by the time the men were killed. Human rights groups have condemned the charges as bogus and Western leaders including US President Barack Obama and German Chancellor Angela Merkel had called for her release.

Ukrainian air force pilot and member of the Ukrainian Parliament Nadia Savchenko stands in a cage at a court room in Moscow. Photo / Getty
Ukrainian air force pilot and member of the Ukrainian Parliament Nadia Savchenko stands in a cage at a court room in Moscow. Photo / Getty

Last week she was finally set free as part of a prisoner swap. Ukraine gave up Aleksandr Aleksandrov and Yevgeny Yerofeyev, who were each sentenced to 14 years in prison.

Since returning home the maverick leader has branded Putin "scum" and vowed to give her life for a country if necessary.

She fronted a large crowd of waiting media and warned them not to crowd her before giving a blistering political speech that cemented her position as a symbol of defiance against Russia.

"I want to apologise to all the mothers whose children haven't returned from the anti-terrorist operation that I survived," she said.

"I want to say to you that I can't bring back the dead but I am always ready to sacrifice my life fighting for the Ukraine."

"I will do everything that I can so that every young person currently in prison will be free. Not a single Ukrainian hero should die."

If she does run for President, her popularity and profile could see her become a disaster for current leader Poroshenko as well as Putin in Russia.

Savchenko has already said she doesn't owe the Russian leader any thanks for her freedom "because it's him who took it away from me."

"He simply corrected his own mistake," she said.

She will serve on Ukraine's National Security and Defence Committee under the party of opposition leader Yulia Tymoshenko. But not everyone is convinced her moment in the spotlight will make her a true leader in future.

Ukrainian pilot Nadiya Savchenko and Ukrainian MPs sing the national anthem at the Ukrainian Parliament in Kiev. Photo / Getty
Ukrainian pilot Nadiya Savchenko and Ukrainian MPs sing the national anthem at the Ukrainian Parliament in Kiev. Photo / Getty

"Savchenko's speech scared some people, but far from everyone," Leonid Kozachenko, one of Poroshenko's allies, told Reuters.

Opposition member Vadim Rabinovich said her success depended on her relationship with Tymoshenko.

"She and Tymoshenko will have to sort things out first of all. Two lionesses in one cage," he said.

"She brings an air of war with her, this is bad. On the other hand, she brings a certain openness, which is good. Let's wait and see."

The conflict between Russia and Ukraine has claimed more than 9000 lives so far.

- news.com.au

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