Nadiya Savchenko may be swapped for Russian arms trader Bout?

Ukrainian aviatrix Nadiya Savchenko may be exchanged for a group of Russians, including Victor Bout and Konstantin Yaroshenko, who are serving prison sentences in the U.S, news agency Interfax reported Tuesday with reference to unindentified sources.

On March 22, Russia’s court found Nadiya Savchenko, a Ukrainian military pilot, guilty of complicity in the deaths of two Russian journalists who were killed by mortar fire, and sentenced her to 22 years in a penal colony.

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Meanwhile, Savchenko’s defense team claim they are not aware of the alleged swap, but they would be happy if Savchenko could be exchanged for Bout and Yaroshenko, who are serving lengthy prison terms in the United States.

“It makes absolutely no difference to me, as her lawyer, for whom she will be exchanged – for Bout, Yaroshenko. It does not play any role for me. It is absolutely and completely impossible to secure Savchenko’s release by legal methods (through proving her innocence),” Savchenko’s lawyer Mark Feygin told Interfax on Tuesday.

“I do not know whether the U.S. would agree to it because Savchenko is not its citizen, but if they agree to it for humanitarian considerations, it would also be a way out. If this happens, then let it be this way,” he said.

At the same time, the lawyer did not rule out that such an exchange could have been discussed at U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry‘s recent talks in Moscow.

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Interestingly, Russian presidential spokesman, Dmitry Peskov said a day before that a decision regarding a possible exchange of Savchenko has yet to be made. “So far, I can only tell you that no actions have been taken. Savchenko is a convict de facto and de jure. De jure, she has the possibility of filing an appeal, so we are waiting,” Peskov said.

Victor Bout was arrested in Bangkok on March 6, 2008. He was extradited to the U.S. in 2010, and sentenced to 25 years in prison, on the charges of conspiring to sell a large batch of arms to Columbia’s FARC group. Konstantin Yaroshenko was sentenced to 20 years in prison in 2011, on the charges of conspiring to deliver a large batch of cocaine to the U.S.

Read also: Obama urges Putin to release Nadiya Savchenko, following Interfax Ukraine

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