On Sunday, Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko said that he hoped to see the Ukrainian pilot return home as part of the Russia-Ukraine soldier swap deal. The two Russian special forces officers who were jailed in Ukraine could also return to their country soon.
Last Tuesday, the Ukrainian president said that he had called Russian President Vladimir Putin and confirmed that they had agreed on a deal, according to which, 34-year-old Ukrainian pilot Nadiya Savchenko would be swapped for the two Russian soldiers who were captured and convicted in Ukraine. Poroshenko had sounded more certain about the deal over the weekend.
“We agreed to a formula for resolving this problem. We agreed on its preliminary terms,” the pro-Western leader said during a televised interview. “And right now, I firmly hope that the presidential plane with my representatives will return Nadiya to Ukraine in a few weeks.” However, Russia’s reaction to the Ukrainian president’s comment is still not available, reported 7 News.
Thirty-four-year-old Nadiya Viktorivna Savchenko, who was captured by Kremlin-backed rebels in eastern Ukraine in 2014, was sentenced to 22 years in prison last month for her alleged role in the deaths of two Russian journalists. According to CBC, Savchenko is a professional pilot and enlisted in a volunteer Ukrainian battalion in 2014. She was captured by the rebels and was in Russian custody. Moscow stated that Savchenko escaped from the rebels and was caught in Russia. Savchenko, on the other hand, denied the charges and had staged numerous hunger strikes in protest. She has become a hero in Ukraine.
The Russian soldiers, Alexander Alexandrov and Captain Yevgeny Yerofeyev, were sentenced to 14 years. According to Ukraine, the two soldiers were serving members of an elite Russian military intelligence unit. Contrary to Ukraine’s claim, Russia said that they left and had resigned from the army before crossing the border, but the two accused acknowledged that they were Russian officers.
After the Russian soldiers’ conviction on Monday last week, the Russia-Ukraine soldier swap deal has become more eminent.