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Kiev to ask Russia on Savchenko’s handover after sentence takes effect — lawyer

April 04, 14:20 UTC+3 ROSTOV-ON-DON
After receiving the request, Russia will have up to 60 days to announce the response, one of the former Ukrainian pilot's lawyer says
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ROSTOV-ON-DON, April 4. /TASS/. Ukraine will send an official request to Moscow on handing over ex-pilot Nadezhda Savchenko after the Russian sentence comes into force at midnight on Tuesday, one of lawyers Nikolai Polozov said.

"As far as I know, shortly after the verdict takes effect, Kiev will send an extradition request for Savchenko to serve sentence in Ukraine," the lawyer said.

After receiving the request, Russia will have up to 60 days to announce the response, he said. Regardless of the date when the request on handover is received, Savchenko may be convoyed to prison at any time after the sentence comes into effect.

Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko said late last month that he was ready to swap Savchenko for two Russians kept in detention in Ukraine - Yevgeny Yerofeyev and Aleksandr Aleksandrov - as soon as their own court trials were over. He referred to an alleged promise of Putin to hand over Savchenko to Ukraine. Poroshenko said, though, that Ukraine would never recognize the sentence passed on Savchenko as fair.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov did not confirm Poroshenko’s statement on Putin’s alleged promise. "I do not know about such agreements," he said.

Lawyers seek to persuade Savchenko to appeal Russian sentence

The defense team of Ukraine’s ex-pilot Nadezhda Savchenko insists on appealing the Russian sentence and Monday is the last day when such a move is possible, Polozov told TASS.

Savchenko was sentenced to 22 years in prison in late March by a court in southern Russia that found her guilty of directing the Ukrainian army’s artillery fire in eastern Ukraine that killed Russian journalists Igor Kornelyuk and Anton Voloshin. The ruling of the court, which also said that Savchenko had illegally violated the Russian border, enters into force on Tuesday.

"She received the verdict on March 25 and therefore it comes into effect from 00.00 on April 5. We will visit her on April 4 after lunch and hold talks on filing an appeal as today is the last day when there is such a possibility," Polozov said.

"We will try to convince Savchenko that this is necessary. At least, this will allow her to stay at the pre-trial detention facility. Another argument is that she cannot rely on the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) without the appeal," the lawyer said.

He also reminded that Savchenko is unlikely to agree to appeal the sentence as she has repeatedly said this before.

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