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Ukraine does not rule out exchange of arrested Russians

August 28, 2015, 20:58 UTC+3 KIEV
However, the future of Alexandrov and Yerofeyev, who were detained by Ukrainian servicemen on May 16 near the village of Schastye of the Luhansk Region, will be decided after a court verdict
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Alexander Alexandrov

Alexander Alexandrov

© AP Photo/Efrem Lukatsky, Archive

KIEV, August 28. /TASS/. Head of the Security Service of Ukraine (SBU) Vasily Gritsak told a briefing Friday that he does not rule out the possibility that Russian nationals Alexander Alexandrov and Yevgeny Yerofeyev, arrested in Ukraine, could be exchanged.

"I don’t rule out that possibility," Gritsak said when asked a relevant question. However, he said, their future will be decided only after a court verdict.

Alexandrov and Yerofeyev were detained by Ukrainian servicemen on May 16 near the village of Schastye of the Luhansk Region.

The Kiev authorities claimed the detainees allegedly were Russian servicemen. But on May 18 Russia’s Defense Ministry said "Russian nationals Alexander Alexandrov and Yevgeny Yerofeyev, seized by the SBU in the Luhansk Region, were not active servicemen of Russia’s Armed Forces at the moment when they were detained on May 17."

On May 22, a Kiev court arrested them. On June 10, Kiev’s appeals court remanded Yerofeyev and Alexandrov in custody. On July 30, both were transferred from a hospital to a pretrial detention center.

Their trial is due in September. Earlier Yerofeyev’s lawyer Oxana Skolovskaya told TASS that the detainees could face the maximum possible punishment — a life sentence.

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