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Ukraine security chief confirms preparations for sending home Russians detained in Odessa

June 10, 2016, 12:59 UTC+3 ODESSA

The two Russian citizens were detained over the 2014 Odessa riots and will now be handed over as part of efforts on releasing two Ukrainians convicted for errorism and espionage in Russia

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© Fedor Savintsev/TASS, archive

ODESSA, June 10. /TASS/. Ukrainian Security Service Chief Vasily Gritsak confirmed on Friday that preparations were under way to send back to Russia two Russians detained over the 2014 Odessa riots.

The preparations for returning home Russians are being made as part of the efforts to release Ukrainian nationals Yuri Soloshenko and Gennady Afanasyev convicted in Russia on the charges of terrorism and espionage, he added.

"I only want to confirm that yes, we are carrying out work for preparing this exchange and we’ll do everything possible to return all citizens, including nationals on the territory of Russia. These are 11 citizens whom we’ll return to the territory of our country," Gritsak said at a news briefing, replying to a question about whether he could confirm reports on the preparations for the swap of Soloshenko and Afanasyev for two Russian citizens detained in Odessa.

Leader of the Ukrainian Choice public organization Viktor Medvedchuk said in an interview with the Komsomolskaya Pravda in Ukraine daily on June 9 that Kiev would soon release two Russians who had been detained over the May 2014 riots in Odessa but didn’t disclose their names.

Media reports earlier said that Russian citizens Yevgeny Mefedov and Maxim Sakauov were in custody over the May 2 riots in Odessa.

Ukraine’s Justice Ministry turned to Russia in March with a request to transfer to Ukraine Yuri Soloshenko and Gennady Afanasyev convicted in Russia on the charges of terrorism and espionage.

In response, Russia’s Justice Ministry said these issues were regulated by the 1983 Convention on the Transfer of Sentenced Persons and the Criminal Procedure Code of Russia.

Ukrainian President Pyotr Poroshenko said last week the swap of Soloshenko and Afanasyev could take place in June.

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