Europe

Ukrainian lawmaker visits rebel east, urges prisoner release

  • FILE - In this file photo dated Monday, July 11, 2016, Ukrainian pilot Nadiya Savchenko arrives for a meeting with Lithuania's President Dalia Grybauskaite in the Presidential palace in Vilnius, Lithuania, released last month after two years in a Russian prison. According to reports Friday Feb. 24, 2017, Savchenko has visited a prison in the rebel-held eastern Ukrainian city of Makiivka to meet with Ukrainian prisoners there, a trip that has irked many in Ukraine. (AP Photo/Liusjenas Kulbis, FILE)

    FILE - In this file photo dated Monday, July 11, 2016, Ukrainian pilot Nadiya Savchenko arrives for a meeting with Lithuania's President Dalia Grybauskaite in the Presidential palace in Vilnius, Lithuania, released last month after two years in a Russian prison. According to reports Friday Feb. 24, 2017, Savchenko has visited a prison in the rebel-held eastern Ukrainian city of Makiivka to meet with Ukrainian prisoners there, a trip that has irked many in Ukraine. (AP Photo/Liusjenas Kulbis, FILE)  (The Associated Press)

  • FILE - In this file photo dated Monday, Aug. 8, 2016, Ukrainian lawmaker and former prisoner of war Nadiya Savchenko speaks through a loudspeaker against the background of portraits of prisoners of war at a rally near the President's Office in Kiev, Ukraine. According to reports Friday Feb. 24, 2017, Savchenko has visited a prison in the rebel-held eastern Ukrainian city of Makiivka to meet with Ukrainian prisoners there, a trip that has irked many in Ukraine. (AP Photo/Efrem Lukatsky, FILE)

    FILE - In this file photo dated Monday, Aug. 8, 2016, Ukrainian lawmaker and former prisoner of war Nadiya Savchenko speaks through a loudspeaker against the background of portraits of prisoners of war at a rally near the President's Office in Kiev, Ukraine. According to reports Friday Feb. 24, 2017, Savchenko has visited a prison in the rebel-held eastern Ukrainian city of Makiivka to meet with Ukrainian prisoners there, a trip that has irked many in Ukraine. (AP Photo/Efrem Lukatsky, FILE)  (The Associated Press)

A Ukrainian lawmaker has visited the rebel east to meet with Ukrainian prisoners held by the rebels.

Nadiya Savchenko, a pilot who spent two years in a Russian prison before her release last year, arrived Friday at a prison in rebel-held Makiivka, according to the rebels' Donetsk News Agency. Savchenko said on Facebook that her goal is to help free Ukrainian prisoners.

Savchenko, who has a hero's status, has stirred controversy with criticism of the Ukrainian government and calls for a dialogue with the Russia-backed rebels to end the fighting in eastern Ukraine that has killed more than 9,800 people since April 2014.

Ukraine's domestic security agency, the SBU, said it will look into Savchenko's trip. Agency spokesman Oleksandr Tkachuk says Savchenko's trip is causing "bewilderment," according to the Interfax news agency.