A Ukrainian pilot who spent two years in a Russian prison says reconciliation is the only solution to the ongoing conflict in eastern Ukraine, an assertion that has enraged local politicians.

Speaking on Ukraine's Channel 5, Nadiya Savchenko said late Thursday Ukrainians "need to ask for forgiveness" or there will never be peace in eastern Ukraine where a conflict between government forces and separatist rebels has claimed more than 9,400 lives since it began in April 2014.

Top Ukrainian political figures lashed out Friday at Savchenko over the remarks.

Savchenko returned to Ukraine to a hero's welcome in May as part of a prisoner swap after she was captured by the rebels in June 2014 and put on trial in Russia for involvement in the deaths of two journalists.