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Putin pardons two Ukrainians convicted in Russia

June 14, 16:55 UTC+3
Meanwhile, Ukrainian citizens that were held in detention in Ukraine's Odessa and the Rovno region have arrived in Moscow
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Yuri Soloshenko and Gennady Afanasiev

Yuri Soloshenko and Gennady Afanasiev

© Mikhail Palinchak/TASS

MOSCOW, June 14. /TASS/. Russian President Vladimir Putin has pardoned two Ukrainian convicts serving prison terms in Russia - Gennady Afanasiev and Yuri Soloshenko.

The texts of the decrees have been made public by the Kremlin’s press-service.

The Moscow city court convicted Afanasiev on December 17, 2014 and Soloshenko, on October 14, 2015.

Both decrees terminating their imprisonment are effective immediately.

Crimean resident Gennady Afanasiev, alongside Oleg Sentsov and Aleksandr Kolchenko, was charged with plotting terrorist attacks in Crimea and sentenced to seven years in prison in August 2015. In October of the same year the former director of Ukrainian defense-industrial enterprises Znamya, Yuri Soloshenko was given six years in jail for spying for Ukraine.

Last March the Ukrainian Justice Ministry asked Russia for their extradition on the basis of the 1983 convention on the exchange of convicts. Kiev said both were in grave condition.

Meanwhile, Ukrainian citizens Yelena Glishchinskaya with an underage child and Vitaly Didenko arrived in Moscow on Tuesday by a Rossiya Airlines flight.

Yelena Glischinskaya is a journalist, Director of the Odessa-based Svobodnaya Volna (Free Wave) regional TV and radio company. She was charged by the Ukrainian authorities with separatism and treason, facing, according to the Criminal Code of Ukraine, an imprisonment term of 12 to 15 years. She was an activist of the People's Rada of Bessarabia public movement, the declared goal of which was to protect the interests of national minorities of the Odessa region (Gagauz, Bulgarians, Moldovans and other nations), which, according to the movement, were infringed by the central authorities. Three Ukrainian citizens from among the movement’s organizers were arrested. TASS has learned that Glischinskaya had a baby after her arrest while she was held in a detention facility. The boy is now six weeks old, his condition is serious but stable (heart paralogia). The Ukrainian security services did not allow Glishchinskaya to be with her child. She was detained for over a year. She also has other children.

Vitaly Didenko is the editor-in-chief of the Odessa city Information Center website. He was sentenced to three years of supervised release.

Glishchinskaya was for a long time held in a detention facility in the city of Odessa and Didenko - in a penal colony in the Rovno region of Ukraine.

According to the Kremlin administration the release of Ukrainian journalists Vitaly Didenko and Yelena Glishchinskaya, as well as her child who is in need of urgent medical aid "has become possible thanks to the active actions and mediation of the Ukrainian president’s special envoy for humanitarian issues in the Trilateral Contact Group, Viktor Medvedchuk."

Leader of the Ukrainian Choice NGO Viktor Medvedchuk has repeatedly acted as a co-organizer of several prisoner exchanges between Kiev and the self-proclaimed Donetsk and Lugansk people’s republics (DPR and LPR) in Ukraine’s south-eastern Donbass region. He also was directly involved in a recent release of Ukrainian former pilot Nadezhda Savchenko who was convicted in Russia and two Russian citizens - Alexander Alexandrov and Yevgeny Yerofeyev who were sentenced to imprisonment in Ukraine.

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