KIEV, Ukraine, May 27 (UPI) -- Nadiya Savchenko, the Ukrainian military pilot recently released from Russian captivity, said she would be prepared to serve as president if elected.
Savchenko, 35, is a member of Ukraine's Verkhovna Rada, or parliament, in addition to her military career and representation of Ukraine on the Council of Europe's Parliamentary Assembly. She was convicted of murder by a Russian court for her involvement in the deaths of two Russian journalists in eastern Ukraine, the court saying she called their coordinates in to a Ukrainian army battalion.
After beginning a 22-year prison sentence, she was swapped earlier this week for two Russian intelligence officers imprisoned by Ukraine. She returned triumphantly to Kiev aboard the plane of Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko. In her homeland, many see her as a symbol of resistance of Ukraine's political and military struggle with Russia, regarded by some Ukrainians as a Joan of Arc figure, NBC News reported.
After her return she announced she is prepared for political activity.
Speaking in Kiev on Friday, she said, "Ukrainians, if you want me to be president, well, I'll do it," although pointing out she prefers flying to politics. She added, though, that Ukrainians should learn "not to vote for buckwheat," a reference to bribes of gift baskets distributed by some candidates to voters.