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Russia Receives Request to Begin Procedure to Transfer Savchenko

Ukrainian pilot Nadezhda Savchenko

Russia's Justice Ministry has received an official request from Ukraine for paperwork that would launch a procedure for returning Ukrainian pilot Nadezhda Savchenko to her homeland, a ministry spokesman was quoted by Interfax news agency as saying Wednesday.

“The Russian Justic Ministry has received via fax a request from the Ukrainian Justic Ministry to provide documents needed for the consideration of the question about handing over convict Savchenko to Ukraine to continue serving out the sentence in the form of incarceration,” the spokesperson was quoted as saying.

The 1983 convention on the transfer of sentenced persons sets no timeframe for when the request must be considered, the spokesperson said, Interfax reported.

Ukrainian Justice Minister Pavlo Petrenko said Kiev was trying to speed up the process, out of concerns for Savchenko's health. The pilot went on extensive hunger strikes while in Russian prison.

“We have prepared all the necessary documents related to the legal side of this issue,” Petrenko said on his Facebook page. “But the convention envisages certain bureaucratic procedures. Because of Nadezhda's health, the terms set by the convention are not acceptable for us.”

“Therefore we made the decision to provide diplomats with an opportunity to work with the Russian side in order to set a mechanism and receive guarantees that the timeframe will be observed,” he said.

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