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BEIJING, March 25. /TASS/. The swap of Ukrainian ex-pilot Nadezhda Savchenko convicted in Russia for Russian nationals on trial in Ukraine is theoretically possible but only upon decision by Russia’s president, Kremlin Chief of Staff Sergey Ivanov said on Friday.
"As for the theoretically possible exchange, this is theoretically possible," he told journalist.
This is possible upon full compliance with the Russian legislation and such a decision "can be made only by the president of the Russian Federation," the Kremlin chief of staff said.
The Kremlin chief of staff also said that the Savchenko case had no relation to the Minsk accords on the ceasefire and political settlement in east Ukraine.
"This [the Savchenko case] hasn’t the slightest relation because Russia is not a party to the conflict," Ivanov said.
On March 22, the Donetsk City Court in Russia’s southern Rostov Region found Savchenko guilty of directing the Ukrainian army’s artillery fire in east Ukraine that had killed Russian journalists. She was found guilty of the killing of VGTRK journalists Igor Kornelyuk and Anton Voloshin and illegally crossing of the Russian border.
She was sentenced to 22 years in prison and a fine of 30,000 rubles ($440).
As Savchenko said earlier, she didn’t recognize the court’s verdict but wouldn’t appeal against it.Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko has said he is ready to swap Savchenko for two Russians detained in Ukraine.
Russian nationals Alexander Aleksandrov and Yevgeny Yerofeyev were captured by Ukraine’s forces on May 16, 2015, in the Lugansk region, in eastern Ukraine. They are accused of illegal border crossing, illegal possession of arms and involvement in terrorist activity.
Kiev claims the detainees are Russian servicemen. However, the Russian Defense Ministry said the Russians "were not active servicemen of Russia’s Armed Forces at the moment of their detention."
Aleksandrov and Yerofeyev say they are not guilty on any of the charges. According to their lawyers, the two men should be considered prisoners of war as both of them were members of the people’s militia of the self-proclaimed Lugansk People’s Republic (LPR) when they were detained.
If found guilty in Ukraine, the Russians may be sentenced for life.
The lawyers say the trial should be organized in accordance with the Geneva Convention.