MOSCOW, March 31 /TASS/. Kiev is purposefully mounting an information campaign to defend Ukrainian ex-pilot Nadezhda Savchenko convicted in Russia with an aim to distract attention from its refusal to implement and comply with the Minsk-2 package of measures to settle the Ukraine crisis, Russian Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said on Thursday.
"The verdict has been passed and is to come in force. But there are plenty of reasons why they should keep inciting interest in this case. First, an information campaign unleashed over the Savchenko case is a vital factor in the internal political life in Ukraine. Therefore, it is not in the interests of Ukrainian politicians to let the interest in the campaign weaken.
"First, they constantly have to add more fuel to this story. Second, Kiev has deadlocked the process of implementation of the Minsk-2 package of measures. They need to explain all this but they’ve got no explanation. They need to explain why it is more important than political reforms or the life of ordinary people," Zakharova said.
As for the rumors that Savchenko could be swapped for one of the Russian nationals imprisoned abroad, including pilot Konstantin Yaroshenko, who has been convicted in the United States, Zakharova described them as part of that global campaign, which has nothing to do with the fate of Russian nationals.
"Speculations should be separated from real information. If we have some real information, which we can share, we will do that," the Russian diplomat said.
A court in the Russian city of Donetsk, the southern Rostov region, sentenced Savchenko to 22 years in a general regime penal colony and a fine worth 30,000 rubles ($442 U.S. dollars) on March 22.
Savchenko was found guilty of murdering journalists Igor Kornelyuk and Anton Voloshin from the All-Russian Television and Radio Broadcasting Network (VGTRK); of an attempt to kill civilians and of illegal crossing of the Russian state border.
Earlier, a Russian Foreign Ministry source denied all the rumors about Savchenko’s possible swap.