ASTRAKHAN, April 28. /TASS/. The documents for the extradition of former Ukrainian pilot Nadezhda Savchenko to Ukraine may be formalized by the end of summer, Savchenko’s lawyer Nikolai Polozov said on Thursday.
"I’ll fly to Rostov tomorrow, visit her and we’ll fill in all documents and submit them. We hope that the procedure will be held in an expedited manner while normally the entire procedure lasts at least half a year. But I believe that everything will be resolved by the end of summer, if this process is expedited," the lawyer said.
As the lawyer explained, Savchenko had received a standard package of documents stipulated by the Convention on the extradition of convicted persons to another State for serving a prison term but the formalization procedure was usually quite long.
Once the extradition documents are signed, they are submitted to the Justice Ministry and then to a court of law at the place of the correctional facility (Novocherkassk). Also, the Russian side should receive Ukraine’s verdict recognition, the lawyer said.
"You should also not forget that politically this is a sort of an exchange. Meanwhile, the verdict on [Yevgeny] Yerofeyev and [Alexander] Aleksandrov [two Russians convicted in Ukraine] has not yet come into force. It will come into effect only on May 25. And the same procedure should be applied to them," the lawyer said.
The Donetsk City Court in Russia’s southern Rostov Region ruled on March 22 to find former Ukrainian pilot Savchenko guilty of directing the pro-Kiev forces’ artillery fire in south-east Ukraine that had killed Russian journalists. She was found guilty of killing Russia’s VGTRK Media Group journalists Igor Kornelyuk and Anton Voloshin and illegally crossing the Russian border.
She was sentenced to 22 years in a general-security penal colony and a fine of 30,000 rubles ($440).
The Savchenko trial began on September 22, 2015.
As the court said in its verdict, Savchenko had " the skills of military training and experience in military actions in Iraq" and "made her own choice while on a holiday to participate in the armed conflict in Ukraine’s south-east and came to the Aidar battalion under commander Sergey Melnichuk, which was located in the town of Schastye in the Lugansk region."
As Savchenko said earlier, she didn’t recognize the court’s verdict but wouldn’t appeal against it.
Ukrainian President Poroshenko has said he is ready to swap Savchenko for two Russian nationals Aleksandrov and Yerofeyev detained by Ukraine’s army last year.
Kiev’s Goloseyevsky District Court ruled on April 18 to find Yerofeyev and Aleksandrov guilty of several counts, including terrorism, and sentenced them to 14 years in jail with confiscation of their property.
Aleksandrov and Yerofeyev were captured by Ukraine’s forces on May 16, 2015, in the Lugansk region, in eastern Ukraine. Kiev claims the detainees are Russian servicemen. However, the Russian Defense Ministry said the Russians "were not active servicemen of Russia’s Armed Forces at the moment of their detention."
Both men say they are not guilty on any of the charges. According to their lawyers, Aleksandrov and Yerofeyev should be considered prisoners of war as both of them were members of the people’s militia of the self-proclaimed Lugansk People’s Republic (LPR) when they were detained.
Kremlin Chief of Staff Sergei Ivanov said on March 25 that the swap of convicted Ukrainian fire controller Savchenko for the two Russian nationals was theoretically possible but only on decision by President of Russia Putin.
The Kremlin chief of staff also said that the Savchenko case had no relation to the Minsk accords on the ceasefire and political settlement in south-east Ukraine.
Russian Consul to Ukraine Alexey Gruby said earlier Russia would take steps within the legal framework to return Russian nationals Aleksandrov and Yerofeyev to their home country, "The Russian side has taken and is taking all possible steps to return our citizens to their home country. Steps will be taken within the legal framework for returning Aleksandrov and Yerofeyev to their homeland," he said.
Vera Savchenko, the sister of convicted Ukrainian pilot, will be able to leave Russia in the coming hours as the restriction on her departure has been canceled, a source in the law enforcement bodies told TASS.
"The decision on limiting the departure from Russia in connection with putting Vera Savchenko on the federal wanted list has been canceled," the source said.
Vera, who is the younger sister of Nadezhda Savchenko, was not allowed to cross the border with Ukraine on Wednesday as she had been earlier put on the federal wanted list over the case on offending the judge, the Border Service of Russia’s Federal Security Service (FSB) in the southern Russian Rostov Region said.