Russia frees Savchenko, Ukraine releases two Russian citizens

Photo: Reuters

Russian President Vladimir Putin has signed a decree pardoning Nadezhda Savchenko, who was sent to Kiev, Presidential Press Secretary Dmitry Peskov said Wednesday, Sputnik News reports.

“Relatives of the murdered journalists requested that Vladimir Putin pardon Nadezhda Savchenko as a humane gesture,” Peskov added.

Savchenko was sentenced in late March to a 22-year jail term in Russia for her part in killing Russian journalists in Donbass. On June 17, 2014, a court ruled that she had directed the artillery fire at a group of Lugansk militia and Russian journalists, which lead to deaths of Russian journalists Igor Kornelyuk and Anton Voloshin.

Two Russian citizens who had been jailed in Ukraine, Yevgeny Yerofeyev and Alexander Alexandrov, have also been freed.

“The transfer of Nadezhda Savchenko to Ukraine and Russians Alexandrov and Yerofeyev to Russia has been completed. This happened on the basis of the Convention on the Transfer of Sentenced Persons, ratified by Russia and Ukraine,”Russian Upper House Speaker Valentina Matvienko said.

“This is not a prisoner swap,” she added.

The plane carrying Russian citizens Yevgeny Yerofeyev and Alexander Alexandrov has landed at Vnukovo Internatinal Airport.

In May 2015, Yevgeny Yerofeyev and Alexander Alexandrov were detained by Ukrainian forces near a front-line town in the Lugansk Region in eastern Ukraine. A Kiev court sentenced them to 14 years in prison, having found them guilty of terrorism-related activities.

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