: Russian soldiers deny involvement in eastern Ukraine

16:47 Apr. 15, 2016

Russian soldiers deny involvement in eastern Ukraine

Russian servicemen  Aleksandr Aleksandrov and Yevgeniy Yerofeyev, who were detained in eastern Ukraine in May 2015, attend a court hearing in Kyiv, on December 3, 2015 (UNIAN photo)

The two who were captured in Luhansk and confessed to being Russian servicemen withdraw their testimony

Two Russian servicemen captured in eastern Ukraine now claim they are innocent. Aleksandr Aleksandrov and Yevgeniy Yerofeyev have withdrawn their earlier testimony during the hearings on their case at a Kyiv court. They say they had been dismissed from the Russian army before they came to Ukraine.

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"I didn't kill, didn't shoot and didn't attack anybody, and I never planned to. I plead not guilty", said Yerofeyev in court.

Soldiers add their previous testimony was given "under force".

"I deny all my previous statements. I told them to save my life", said Aleksandrov.

Earlier Security Service of Ukraine (SBU) published a video in which Aleksandrov claimed he was a Russian serviceman. He also admitted to participating in the conflict in Donbas and in detail described his military operation.

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Aleksandrov and Yerofeev were captured in the Luhansk region in May 2015. They have been accused of several crimes. Among the charges is murder of a Ukrainian soldier, creating a terrorist group and waging aggressive war against the country. 

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The prosecutors demand 15 years in prison for them. However, the servicemen could be exchanged for Ukrainians held by the Kremlin. In a recent statement President Poroshenko said he was ready to transfer the soldiers to Russia in return for the release of Nadiya Savchenko.

The final verdict is expected to be announced on April 18. 

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