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Kiev military prosecutor: Russian nationals arrested in Ukraine may be handed to Russia

January 27, 10:40 UTC+3 KIEV
If Russia "accepts its citizens" then "it should ensure that they serve their sentences by Ukrainian law," Kiev’s chief military prosecutor Anatoly Matios says
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Yevgeny Yerofeyev and Alexander Alexandrov

Yevgeny Yerofeyev and Alexander Alexandrov

© Maxim Pab/TASS

KIEV, January 27. /TASS/. Russian nationals Alexander Alexandrov and Yevgeny Yerofeyev arrested in Ukraine may be handed to Russia to serve their sentences ruled by Ukrainian court, Kiev’s chief military prosecutor Anatoly Matios told Hromadske TV on Wednesday.

"In accordance with international legal agreements ratified by many countries, including Russia, it is possible that citizens of other countries are handed to their home country to serve their sentences, in compliance with extradition exchange," Marios said.

He added that if Russia "accepts its citizens" then "it should ensure that they serve their sentences by Ukrainian law."

However, "the issue of extradition may be raised if there is a relevant request from the Russian side," the chief prosecutor said noting that "military prosecutors are not directly involved in the negotiations process on prisoner exchange."

Russians Alexander Alexandrov and Yevgeny Yerofeyev were captured by Ukraine’s forces on May 16 in the Luhansk region, in eastern Ukraine. After the detention, the Russians underwent serious surgery that demands long-time recovery and systematic medical supervision.

Kiev claims the detainees allegedly were Russian servicemen. Russia’s Defense Ministry later said the Russians "were not active servicemen of Russia’s Armed Forces at the moment when they were detained on May 17."

The court of Kiev’s Shevchenkovsky district arrested Alexandrov and Yerofeyev on May 22. The appeal court of Kiev on June 10 upheld the arrest of Russians, backing the decision of the first instance court. Kiev’s Goloseevsky court prolonged the two men detention till February 20.

Alexandrov and Yerofeyev are suspected of illegal crossing of the border, illegal weapons possession and participation in a terrorist organization. They face life in prison if found guilty.

Alexandrov and Yerofeyev claim they are not guilty on any of the charges. Their lawyers say that the two men should be considered prisoners of war as they both served as militiamen in the people’s militia of the self-proclaimed Luhansk People’s Republic (LPR) when they were detained. Lawyers say the process should be organized in accordance with the Geneva Convention.

Kiev’s Goloseevsky court will resume hearings into the case and hear defense testimony today.

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