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Lawmaker calls for ‘tough dialogue’ with Kiev on return of Russians detained in Donbas

May 22, 2015, 15:05 UTC+3 MOSCOW
The lawmaker praised the United States that "fights for its fellow countrymen up to the last ditch"
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Reporters look at the TV screen showing Alexander Alexandrov

Reporters look at the TV screen showing Alexander Alexandrov

© AP Photo/Sergei Chuzavkov

MOSCOW, May 22. /TASS/. Moscow has to strongly demand that Kiev should return Russian citizens captured in Ukraine, a member of State Duma defense committee, Frants Klintsevich, told reporters on Friday.

"I think that we should demand more strongly that Kiev return our guys back home, setting the deadline," said Klintsevich, who is also the first deputy chairman of the United Russia faction in the State Duma.

Klintsevich said Russia would have to send an official request to the Ukrainian authorities and clearly detail its actions in case of a refusal. He promised to lobby the adoption of this request.

"We should use all the levers of influence on Ukraine, both economic, political and others," he said. In this context, the lawmaker praised the United States that "fights for its fellow countrymen up to the last ditch."

Ukraine’s Security Service official Vitaly Naida said earlier that the Russians detained in Ukraine were suspected of terrorism-related actions and could face up to 15 years in jail.

Russia’s Defense Ministry said on Monday it hoped that the former servicemen held by the Ukrainian Security Service would be released. Russian citizens Alexander Alexandrov and Yevgeny Yerofeyev were not active-duty servicemen at the moment of their detention, the ministry’s official spokesman Gen Igor Konashenkov said.

"We verified the information provided by the Ukrainian side," he said. "These guys really did army service previously and had some military training." He also said an association of veterans of special task forces had asked the Russian ministry to address the Ukrainian General Staff with a request to stop tortures of their wounded fellow soldiers by the SBU.

"We hope the Ukrainian authorities will display rational judgment and will set Alexander Alexandrov and Yevgeny Yerofeyev free at an earliest possible date," Gen Konashenkov said.

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