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Lawyers of two jailed Russians to ask Ukraine president for pardon soon

May 23, 2016, 10:27 UTC+3 KIEV

Russian nationals Alexander Aleksandrov and Yevgeny Yerofeyev have been found guilty of several counts, including terrorism in Ukraine

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Oksana Sokolovskaya

Oksana Sokolovskaya

© Roman Zubov/TASS

KIEV, May 23. /TASS/. Lawyers of two Russian nationals Alexander Aleksandrov and Yevgeny Yerofeyev convicted in Ukraine will soon submit a request to President Petro Poroshenko for a pardon.

"In the near future, a request for pardon of citizens of the Russian Federation will be submitted to the president of Ukraine," lawyer for Yerofeyev Oksana Sokolovskaya told TASS.

Impossible to launch swap de jure

Accordiong to the lawyer, the release of two Russian nationals through swap under the Minsk deal has become impossible de jure.

"It is already impossible to launch the process of exchanging. Those issues that we raised on the swap in line with the Minsk agreements were not applied by the states," Oksana Sokolovskaya, the lawyer for Yerofeyev, said.

She stressed that although the swap cannot be carried out de jure, it can happen based on a political decision. "There is no swap de jure. Therefore, the pardon can be equal from one and the other side," Sokolovskaya said.

In mid-April, Kiev’s Goloseyevsky district court ruled 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 south-east 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.

Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko said earlier he was ready to swap both Russians for former Ukrainian pilot Nadezhda Savchenko convicted in Russia.

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