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Kremlin: In considering Savchenko’s exchange Russia will abide by its laws

March 22, 18:55 UTC+3 MOSCOW MOSCOW March, 22. /TASS
The Kremlin spokesman stressed that only the president can make a decision to exchange Ukraine's ex-pilot for two Russians detained in Donass
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Nadezhda Savcheko

Nadezhda Savcheko

© EPA/STRINGER

MOSCOW, March 22. /TASS/. In considering the possibility of exchanging Ukrainian citizen Nadezhda Savcheko, convicted in Russia and sentenced to a long prison term, Moscow will be acting in strict compliance with national legislation, presidential spokesman Dmitry Peskov said, when asked about Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko’s declared readiness to exchange Russian citizens detained in Ukraine for Savchenko.

"Russia will be acting in strict accordance with its national legislation," he said.

"In all other respects only the president can make such a decision. What decision there will follow I cannot say for now."

Earlier on Tuesday Poroshenko made a special statement after a sentence in the Savchenko case was read out to declare the readiness to exchange her for two Russians kept in detention in Ukraine - Yevgeny Yerofeyev and Alexander Aleksandrov - as soon as their own court trials were over. Poroshenko said, though, that Ukraine would never recognize the sentence passed on Savchenko as fair.

The Donetsk City Court in Russia’s Rostov Region has found Savchenko guilty of complicity in the murder of Russian television journalists Igor Kornelyuk and Anton Voloshin and of illegal border crossing and sentenced her to 22 years in standard security penitentiary and a fine of 30,000 rubles. Savchenko earlier said she would neither recognize nor protest the sentence.

Russia’s Alexander Aleksandrov and Yerofeyev Yevgeny Yerofeyev were detained by Ukrainian military on May 16, 2015 near the community of Shchastye, the Lugansk Region. They are charged with illegal border crossing, illegal carrying of firearms and involvement in a terrorist organization. They are faced with a life term. The next court session is due April 5.

Aleksandrov and Yerofeyev have pled not guilty to all charges.

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