: Russian soldiers to be swapped for Savchenko as long as she is alive - lawyer

13:55 Apr. 16, 2016

Russian soldiers to be swapped for Savchenko as long as she is alive - lawyer

Ukrainian activists place placards on a fence at the entrance of the Russian Embassy during a rally in support of Ukrainian pilot Nadiya Savchenko in Kyiv, Ukraine on March 21, 2016 (Getty Images)

Ukrainian pilot's health condition is critical - her transfer may lead her to death, member of Public Oversight Commission says

Ilya Novikov, lawyer of Ukrainian pilot and MP Nadiya Savchenko (illegally imprisoned and convicted in Russia) said that she can be exchanged for two Russian servicemen Aleksandr Aleksandrov and Yevgeniy Yerofeyev. 

They were captured in eastern Ukraine last year and currently being tried in Kyiv.

"According to my information, though unofficial, there is the only negotiable swap option - they must be swapped only for Nadiya (Savchenko) and only as long as she is alive. There are some other candidates for a possible exchange of Oleh Sentsov and other (Ukrainian political prisoners held in Russia). It looks like that these terms are realized and accepted (by Russia)", Novikov wrote on Facebook.

He added that he does not believe in rumours about Moscow's plans to get Savchenko convoyed to a prison settlement or "make her die or fall into coma'. 

"The information has been confirmed: Nadiya's health condition is critical. According to the doctor who examined her, her transportation to a prison settlement will lead to her death", Valentina Cherevatenko, member of the Public Oversight Commission said, according to Oleg Mezentzev (Savchenko's assistant).

Cherevatenko added that Nadyia is losing her weight very fast, "which can be seen without weighing". 


Last month, a Russian court ordered Ukrainian pilot and MP Nadiya Savchenko to spend 22 years behind bars for being involved in the deaths of two Russian journalists in the Donbas warzone in 2014 and for crossing the Ukrainian-Russian border illegally. 

Savchenko denies the charges. Human rights organizations, the OSCE, some UN Security Council members and the European Parliament have all called for her release.

On April 6, when the verdict came into force, Nadiya Savchenko resumed her full hunger strike – without food and water. Her health keeps deteriorating. 

Watch also Up-to-date news on the health of Ukrainian pilot illegally imprisoned and convicted in Russia

Aleksandr Aleksandrov and Yevgeniy Yerofeev, two Russian Special Forces servicemen, 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. 

Read also Captured Russian Soldiers Discredit Kremlin Claims (including exclusive interviews)

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

Novikov added that Aleksandrov and Yerofeev "looked very relaxed and confident" in the Kyiv court, during the trial procedures on April 15.

"They seem to believe that the issue of their exchange has been finally settled, which is not true", Novikov said.



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