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Russia set to release Ukrainian pilot Nadia Savchenko

By
Allen Cone
Ukrainian pilot Nadiya Savchenko was sentenced in March to a 22-year prison term for her role in killing two Russian journalists in eastern Ukraine. Photo courtesy of Podrodytsi/Wikipedia
Ukrainian pilot Nadiya Savchenko was sentenced in March to a 22-year prison term for her role in killing two Russian journalists in eastern Ukraine. Photo courtesy of Podrodytsi/Wikipedia

KIEV, Ukraine, April 19 (UPI) -- Ukraine is working with Russia to have its former military pilot Nadezhda Savchenko returned.

In March, Savchenko was sentenced to 22 years in a Russian prison for the murder of two Russian journalists.

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Ukrainian People's Front party leader Maxim Burbak said during a parliament session Tuesday the country is negotiating with Russia on the extradition in a swap with two former Russian military personnel.

Savchenko was sentenced in late March and had refused to appeal the ruling.

In a briefing Tuesday, Ukrainian Justice Minister Pavel Petrenko said, "We have made the decision to allow the diplomats to work for two days with the other side on all aspects in order to get the algorithm and guarantees of adherence to the time frame for Nadezhda's return to Ukraine."

He said the Justice Ministry has prepared all the necessary documents.

Petrenko said he was ready to exchange Yevgeny Yerofeyev and Alexander Alexandrov after a conversation with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

On Monday, a court in Kiev found the two guilty of several counts, including terrorism, and sentenced them to 14 years in jail.

"I initiated a conversation with Putin yesterday," Petrenko said. "And on the basis of preliminary developments, it seemed to me that we managed to agree on a certain algorithm of freeing Nadezhda."

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