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Jailed pilot's wife hopes Putin, Trump will resolve husband’s future

September 13, 14:44 UTC+3 MOSCOW

Russian pilot Konstantin Yaroshenko is serving out a 20-year sentence in a US jail

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Viktoria Yaroshenko

Viktoria Yaroshenko

© Mikhail Pochuyev/TASS

MOSCOW, September 13. /TASS/. The wife of Russian air pilot Konstantin Yaroshenko serving a jail term in the United States, Viktoria, hopes that the question of her husband’s return home will be raised at the next meeting of Russian and US presidents Vladimir Putin and Donald Trump.

"I would like to ask the presidents of the two countries - Trump and Putin in person - to raise the question of Konstantin’s return home and settle it at their next meeting. He is prepared to serve the sentence here. He agrees to any conditions that may be set here for the sake of returning from America," she told a news conference in Moscow.

Viktoria Yaroshenko said she had asked Trump several times to look into the case, but all of her messages remained unanswered. She confirmed that Yaroshenko’s defense had tried to send a similar request to the United Nations, but added that the petition was filed when the United States had already quit the Human Rights Council.

"The United States can easily say that this has no bearing on us, that we are not a member," she explained.

Yaroshenko, who is serving out a 20-year sentence in a US jail and has health problems, has undergone a hospital examination for the first time in a while, she added. 

"It was our third or fourth meeting… he seemed very content, saying that he had been taken to the hospital, had a chance to speak to a doctor and explain his problems, they said laboratory test would be made, as well as complicated stomach procedures… It’s good he was taken there, and I hope it was not only smoke and mirrors but he will be examined for real," Viktoria said.

Yaroshenko’s daughter Yekaterina, in turn, said her first meeting with her father was "very emotional." "He came in, saw us and burst into tears… Dad does not look good, he has grown old and has a lot of gray hair though his hair used to be pitch-black… He also has signs of an allergic reaction on his face and his stomach and teeth issues are still there," she said.

According to the pilot’s wife, the new prison’s authorities "are more polite and ready for compromise."

Viktoria Yaroshenko and her daughter flew to the United States in August for a meeting with their husband and father. They visited Yaroshenko in prison in Danbury, Connecticut twelve times. His first meeting with wife and daughter in seven years took place on August 24 and lasted for about eight hours. On September 11 the pilot’s family returned to Russia.

Konstantin Yaroshenko was convicted in the United States on September 7, 2011 and sentenced to 20 years in prison. He pled innocent and described his arrest as a provocation and the whole case as a frame-up. Yaroshenko was brought to the United States from Liberia, where he was arrested on May 28, 2010. Agents of the US Drug Enforcement Administration allegedly exposed Yaroshenko’s criminal intent to transport a large batch of cocaine.

The Russian authorities and the pilot’s family in Rostov-on-Don have repeatedly asked the United States for Yaroshenko’s handover to Russia.

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