It may be possible to trade Ukrainian air force pilot Nadiya Savchenko, who was sentenced to 22 years in prison in Russia in late March, for a Russian imprisoned in Ukraine, Investigative Committee of Russia spokesman Vladimir Markin said today.
"Of course justice demands that Savchenko serves the entirety of the 22-year sentence she was given, but if a trade of prisoners would help get good and honest people out of Kiev’s prisons, then we may agree to such a trade,” Markin stated in a column for Russian daily “Vecherniy Chelyabinsk” on Friday, April 1.
According to Markin, the law provided for only one possibility — to send Savchenko back to her home country to serve out her sentence there.
“A pardon will not be possible if she does not admit to her guilt or express regret for her deeds,” wrote the committee’s spokesperson. “In any case, granting a pardon is the privilege of the Russian president — he is the only one who can make such a decision.”
Ukrainian helicopter pilot Nadiya Savchenko was serving in a volunteer Ukrainian battalion fighting pro-Kremlin rebels in Eastern Ukraine when she was captured in June 2014.
According to charges pressed against her, Savchenko coordinated artillery fire in which two Russian journalists and a number of civilians near the Russian border were killed. Savchenko maintains that she had already been captured and taken over the border into Russia at the time of their deaths.
According to Ukrainian authorities, Savchenko is a prisoner of war and that per the Minsk Protocol, she is to be freed and returned to Ukraine immediately.
Editor: Editor: Aili Sarapik