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KIEV, May 25. /TASS/. The petition for pardoning Russian national Yevgeny Yerofeyev and Alexander Aleksandrov convicted in Ukraine has already been submitted to Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko, Aleksandrov’s lawyer Valentin Rybin told TASS on Wednesday.
"The petition for pardoning Yevgeny Yerofeyev and Alexander Aleksandrov has already been submitted to the Ukrainian president for signing," Rybin said.
He added that the same procedure is underway in Russia with convicted Ukrainian pilot Nadezhda Savchenko. "This is a mirrored procedure. The future of exchange (Yerofeyev and Aleksandrov for Savchenko) will be clear by the evening," the lawyer noted.
Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko wrote on his Facebook page earlier today that he is ready to sign the petition for pardoning Yerofeyev and Aleksandrov. He noted that he is ready to do everything possible in order to free Savchenko. "I am ready to use my constitutional powers to bring Nadezhda (Savchenko) hime. That’s why, if such a petition (for pardoning Yerofeyev and Aleksandrov) is submitted, I will definitely use that," Poroshenko noted.
Russian nationals Alexander Aleksandrov and Yevgeny 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." 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.
In April, Kiev’s Goloseyevsky District Court found Yerofeyev and Alexandrov guilty of several counts, including terrorism, and sentenced them to 14 years in jail with confiscation of their property. The verdict enters into force on May 23, and after that it is possible that they will be exchanged for Ukrainians convicted in Russia, in particular Ukrainian pilot Nadezhda Savchenko.
The Donetsk City Court in Russia’s southern Rostov Region ruled on March 22 to find former Ukrainian pilot Nadezhda 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).