Russia frees Ukrainian pilot Savchenko following a prisoner swap

May 25, 2016


Local media confirm that Ukrainian pilot, Nadiya Savchenko, has now been swapped for the two Russian prisoners,Yevgeny Yerofeyev, and Alexander Alexandrov, held by Ukraine.

Sources claim that the young pilot was being flown from the Russian city of Rostov-on-Don to Kiev on Ukrainian President, Poroschenko’s, plane. The two Russian soldiers were being transferred from Kiev to Moscow on board of a plane belonging to President Putin.

The prisoner exchange has been considered for a long time, and ECR MEP and coordinator on human rights, Mark Demesmaeker has been pushing for the release of Savchenko ever since her capture. He is happy that the deal has finally been reached: “Savchenko should never have been in prison. She was condemned without any clear evidence. Her imprisonment was a political decision. But on the other hand, we should also be critical towards the conviction of the Russian soldiers”.

Savschenko was sentenced 22 years in jail on presumable being responsible for the death of two Russian journalists in eastern Ukraine, which she denied. She has been in the Russian jail for almost two years.

The Russian soldiers were sentenced 14 years in jail last month found guilty of committing a terrorist act and of provoking an armed conflict in Ukraine.

Also other international parties have put a lot of pressure on the Kremlin to liberate the ‘Ukrainian Jeanne d’Arc’. But it wasn’t until the conviction of the two Russian officers last month that things started moving.

Demesmaeker stresses the fact, that the happy ending to this disgraceful story should nevertheless remind us to still push for the release of other prisoners that are being held illegally in Russian prisons.