Ukrainian lawmaker visits rebel east, urges prisoner release

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.